Court Lane Judo Club celebrated their 25th birthday with a visit from Rio Olympian and 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Nekoda Smythe-Davis, on Saturday 5th May.
Guests included club founder and original coach Roger Spreadbury, and former coach and News Coach of the Year nominee Jill Brown.
Davis, who herself recently turned 25, demonstrated some of the techniques that helped her win a world bronze medal in 2017, and joined in practice with the players.
In an insightful and honest question and answer session, she answered questions about her judo career, how she prepares for competition and the pressures on her at the beginning of judo’s two year qualification cycle for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Davis was joined on the mat by Brett Caswell. Caswell won the inaugural -21 Commonwealth Judo championships in 2006, 2005 British Championships and represented Great Britain all over the world. Jonty Bassil was another willing uke.
The session ended with Davis and Spreadbury cutting a cake to honour the Club’s 25th birthday.
Current Club Coach Tony Brown said, “It was great to get a player of Nekoda’s calibre down to help us celebrate our 25th birthday. The Club is on the way back up, with several players being selected for Hampshire squads over the last couple of years, and this was our way of giving the players, and their parents, something to inspire them and motivate them to keep working hard at their judo. It is a tough sport, but as Nekoda amply demonstrated, the rewards are there for those who keep their focus and determination.”