The Northern Ireland Judo Federation welcomed nearly 150 women and girls to free judo taster sessions last weekend in Belfast and Coleraine delivered by Olympian and former Commonwealth Champion Chloe Cowen Vickers.
The fully-booked ‘Get to Grips Judo’ events, which took place at Coleraine Leisure Centre and the Grove Wellbeing Centre in Belfast, were open to females over eight years of age.
No judo experience was required, and participants had an opportunity to learn some of the basic moves/techniques of Judo and learn more about the ethos and history of the sport.
Chloe, who is also a five times winner of a European Senior Medal and is graded 6th Dan in Judo, was joined at the sessions by local female international Judoka’s and experienced female coaching staff who all took part in a q & a session during the day.
Reflecting on the value of the sessions, she noted: “These days girls can be pretty self-conscious about playing sport. I was too, but after trying I few different sports as a kid and I was lucky enough to find Judo. I found myself hooked from the first session; it was the 1st sport I tried that gave me everything I needed.
“The Olympic sport of judo can not only help to keep you fabulously fit, but also brings many more benefits. It’s a great way to build confidence, introduce you to self-defence, make friends and most importantly have fun. If you are up for a new challenge or you are already a practicing Judoka, why not pop along to your local judo club and be involved.”
Northern Ireland Judo Federation Club Workforce Officer Vicki Kennedy added: “We were delighted to be facilitating three sessions to encourage females to stay within or enter the sport of Judo. This is an exciting initiative where we had an Olympian and female coaches using their expertise to impart knowledge to females and a chance for female coaches to learn and develop at the session.
“We were hoping this session would provide an opportunity for females to train and learn together. This has been a great opportunity for the females which would not have been possible without the support from the National Lottery and Sport NI. The funding support will help more people be involved and retained in the sport.”
Anyone interested in taking part in judo can contact Vicki Kennedy Club Workforce Officer via email firstname.lastname@example.org tofind out about local clubs.