University of Wolverhampton and British judo celebrate collaborative milestone

In the five years since the British Judo Association opened a centre of excellence at the university, UK competitors have enjoyed pronounced success on the international stage

The University of Wolverhampton and the British Judo Association have celebrated the fifth anniversary of the sport’s centre of excellence. Olympic gold medallist, Denise Lewis, opened the facility at the university’s Walsall campus in 2013.

The £1 million venture was established following an independent performance review outlining the need for a centralised programme for British judo. Today, it provides some of Britain’s most talented junior, Paralympic and Olympic judoka with a world class, fully integrated performance environment, and is also home to some of the best judo coaches in the country.

The success of the programme can be measured by the following statistics:

  • One Olympic bronze medal
  • Three senior World Championships medals
  • Several 2014 Commonwealth Games medals
  • Multiple grand slam medals, including gold at the 2018 Paris Grand Slam
  • Nine senior European Championships medals
  • One VI European champion
  • One VI World Championships medal
  • Three VI World Games medals
  • Seven junior European Championship medals, including two junior European champions
  • Three under-23 European champions
  • Five junior World Championship medals

Professor Ian Oakes, deputy vice-chancellor at the university, said: “We’re extremely proud of our partnership with British Judo, and what has been achieved in a relatively short space of time as a result of the programme.

“When we first opened the centre on our Walsall Campus, it was our ambition to have an elite sport offer on campus which could inspire others.

“The partnership with British Judo has firmly put the university on the map, and we are pleased to say that a number of elite judo players have also gone on to study with us alongside their training.”

Nigel Donohue, British Judo performance director, said: “We’ve seen a fantastic level of success by GB athletes. Our judoka medal consistently at all levels and we believe there is more to come. Our partnership with the University of Wolverhampton has played a real part in that success.

“We have a fantastic relationship with their sports team, and they have worked closely with our coaches and the sports science and medicine team in helping us get the most out of our athletes.”