What is the best thing about being involved?
I have been involved in judo since I was 10, and was very active in my teenage and student days. After stopping for many years, I returned when my own children were old enough to take part. The club we are a member of is very diverse and community focused, and it is a pleasure to see children’s confidence increase through learning a sport. Over the past 18 months we have also had several Ukrainian children join the club, and watching them become friends with other children in the class and learning new skills has been very rewarding.
What is the biggest challenge?
Retention of club members can be an issue. The club had to shut down during the pandemic since, as a full contact sport, judo was a high-risk activity. While we continued with outdoor fitness training during the pandemic, many of our previous members stopped coming as a result of the 2-year hiatus. We have since had to be rebuild the club, which has taken some time. There can also be a drop-off of teenage members, as the transition from children’s classes to adults’ classes can be challenging for some.
What is the legacy in your life?
Until I re-engaged with judo in my 40s, I thought that my involvement with the sport was in the past. As the club treasurer, most of my current involvement is in the finance and admin side of running a voluntary sports club. However, I gained a lot during my own competitive training years when I was younger, and so am very happy to be able to give back to the judo community and to see our child, youth, and adult members gain a passion for the sport and discipline of judo.