Judo ace bags gold just 8 months after taking up the sport

An inspirational St Annes man has taken first place at the Special Needs British Judo Championships '“ just eight months after taking up the sport.

Tuesday, 6th September 2016, 9:36 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th September 2016, 10:41 am
Neil Bennet

Neil Bennet took the top prize at the annual open competition at the age of 43.

Neil is a member of Keidokwai Judo Club, which celebrates its 75th anniversary next year, and only had his first lesson in January.

He trains at Keidokwai’s satellite club in St Annes under coach Ross Goodwin.

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Judo players from all over Europe descended on Buckinghamshire for the championships at the new stadium in Stoke Mandeville, home of the Paralympic movement.

Neil overcame all the odds the defeat higher-graded opponents with some outstanding throws in his first-ever competition.

He told The Gazette: “I was delighted to win as I never expected it. It’s the first time I’ve been in a competition like this, so I was very nervous.

“To get the gold medal after just eight months of training is brilliant.”

He said his main aim is to continue training and regain his hard-earned first place at next year’s competition.

Neil embodies the values of judo, showing great respect and courage, while welcoming newcomers to the sport with great friendship.

He added: “Judo is great for fitness and it’s made such a big difference to me.”

Keidokwai Judo Club, a non-profit-making organisation staffed entirely by volunteers, welcomes new members.