The first ever Birmingham Schools Judo Championships saw 81 excited competitors take to the mat on Tuesday May 25 th at Bishop Challoner College.

The players represented 10 secondary schools, 8 of which fell within the Birmingham City Council Educational boundaries. The much-anticipated event featured 68 boys and 12 girls.

For many participants the event was their first taste of competitive judo. They have found their way into the sport and received first-class coaching through a host of diverse and accessible schemes which run in the city.

In addition to The School Sport Partnerships and The Catholic Partnership, The Premier League 4 Sport has a strong and visible presence. Aston Villa Football Club have established a satellite sports club at four schools which delivers the Olympic disciplines of judo, volleyball, table tennis and badminton.

Phil Homer, of the Bishop Challoner, Baverstock and Colmers School Sports Partnerships, served as competition manager.

“The event attracted players from all backgrounds, colours, races and sizes and ages,” he said.

“There were two players with a severe visual impairment, and their skills and guile was extremely impressive.”

Volunteer referees were on hand to office the event and provide another youthful edge to proceedings.

“We received great support from the BJA who arranged for some fantastic volunteer referees to officiate. They drove across the country to attend and that was much appreciated.”

“There referees helped to provided a fantastic introduction for the players into the regime and protocol of judo.

After the success of the sport’s first Birmingham School Championships the competition organiser is now looking to the future.

“Looking to the future we want to develop a clear structure that is linked into all the initiatives within judo that are proactive and supported locally,” said Homer.

“We aim to maximise the club structure and use this network to support and promote the competition to improve the attendance and organisation and running of the competition.

“There were two schools that couldn’t make the date so the numbers could be a lot higher at the next event which will now become a regular fixture on the judo calendar in Birmingham.”

The British Judo Association’s Children & Young People Development Manager, Daniel Griffin, said: “This events definitely demonstrates that judo competitions can be delivered at school level across a variety of ages and abilities.  We are currently writing the BJA’s school’s competition framework for general release to the Competition Manager network by early 2011.”

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