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Judo Baby

Congratulations to Scottish SN Judo coach Suzi Kirkpatrick and David McSkimming on the birth of their son, Lyal Kirkpatrick Laughlan McSkimming (weighing 7lb 7oz). We wish them joy and happiness in starting their new family.

British SN Judo: A Force to be Reckoned with!
Team GB win Gold at Shenshu Open G-Judo Team Championships

Alex Ferrier (SJC Alba), Cameron Black (SJC Alba), John Kane (Aberdeen JC), Christopher Murphy (Pro JC), David Woodland (Kodachi JC), Richard Cooke (Edinburgh JC), and Andrew Smith (Clyde JC) scored an emphatic victory at the 1st Shenshu Team Championships in Venray, Holland on Saturday 19th November. With only 5 hours sleep, and after a very successful day competing in the individual event, Team GB dismissed the opposition with an outstanding display of ippon-style judo. They won all three of their matches 6-1 and scored 12 ippons and 2 waza-aris on their way to the top of the podium. Team GB were in a class of their own and one of the senior Dutch officials commented on the team's performance being "judo as good as he has seen anywhere". Warm comments indeed from a man that had just witnessed his team swept aside.

This result is undoubtedly a marker of the progress being made by British SN Judo over the past five years since the first British SN Judo Championships were held in Walsall in 2006. The Dutch Judo Bond is recognised as one of the most progressive and forward looking governing bodies in world judo for special needs judo. Their SN judo programme caters for hundreds of players and they hold a major area, national, or international event every month of the year. Competitions regularly attract more than 200 and sometimes over 300 participants from all over Holland and often Belgium and Germany. The Netherlands is certainly one of the world's leading countries for SN judo.

In noting this result, recognition must be given to the BJA Inclusion Commission and their Chairman Dave Clark for the support and encouragement they have shown over recent years for the development of special needs judo in the UK. The Commission's work is now bearing fruit and builds on the work first started by Roy Court and his WISP group in Wales and continued by Ron and Jean Cleere (Stokenchurch JC) and Ken Thorne (Kodachi JC) in England. Running fast to catch up and as the expression goes "standing on the shoulders of giants" is the Scottish SN Judo Group who make up most of this current GB Team. The future is looking promising for SN judo in the British Isles as coaches and clubs everywhere come to re-interpret the old adage "Judo for All". Only a couple of weeks ago, the Irish Judo Association held their first SN judo event in Dublin in conjunction with the Irish Open Championships. Their programme is led by James Mulroy who is working hard to establish a national SN judo programme for Ireland and we eagerly await the first Irish players to participate in a British SN Open Championship.

BJA Special Needs Player of the Year

Congratulations to Richard Cooke (Edinburgh JC) who recently won British Judo's Special Needs Player of the Year award. Richard received his award from Dave Clark (BJA Inclusion Commission Chairman) and Densign White (BJA Chairman) at a prestigious Awards Dinner which was held on the evening of Saturday 1st October at St George's Hall, Liverpool.

Bronze and Silver for Scottish SN Athletes at the Special Olympics World Summer Games

Richard Cooke (Edinburgh JC) and Alexander Ferrier (SJC Alba) arrived home from the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens having won bronze and silver respectively. After a week of acclimatisation on the Island of Skiathos, Team GB moved to Athens in time for the opening ceremony held in the Panathinaikon Stadium which was the venue of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. After the parade of athletes into the stadium there was drama and dancing based on Ancient Greek Mythology followed by a 30 minute performance by Stevie Wonder. Finally the Special Olympics flag was raised, oaths were taken by the athletes, coaches and officials and the flame was lit.

Alex and Richard were both in pools of five players and so expected to each have four fights. In Richard's pool, he lost to players from Israel and Kyrgystan and won by ippon against players from Germany and Kyrgystan giving him a well deserved bronze medal. In Alex's pool, after everyone fought, Alex and two others were drawn, having beaten players from Hungary and Brazil. To decide the medal positions, the three fought each other for a second time. They were hard fought and close fights which resulted in the player from Kyrgystan taking gold, Alex silver and the Dutch player bronze.

Both Alex and Richard enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to fight against non-European judoka who had different styles to what they were used to. They would like to thank everyone for their support in helping them attend this once in a lifetime experience.

Scottish SN Athletes Competing at the Special Olympics World Summer Games

Richard Cooke (Edinburgh JC) and Alexander Ferrier (SJC Alba) will be travelling to Athens on Saturday 18th June to compete in the largest SN sporting event in the world this year - The Special Olympics World Summer Games 2011. Alex and Richard are two of 157 Team GB athletes who were selected for their dedication to sport and their qualifying scores from the Special Olympics National Summer Games held in Leicester in 2009.

As well as training at their clubs and monthly SN sessions, both athletes have built up a lot of experience from competing successfully at competitions in the UK and abroad. Richard was one of the first SN judoka in Britain to be awarded his 1st Dan and Alex is in the process of gathering points for his.

Although very excited to have been selected for the World Games, each athlete had to raise £2,000 in order to participate. Alex and Richard are very grateful for the hard work and generosity of all those who helped contribute to their fund raising efforts.

The Special Olympic Games is an international sporting contest organised specifically for athletes with learning difficulties. Like the Olympic and Paralympic Games, they are held every four years and include summer and winter competitions. This year's summer event in Athens runs from 25th June to 4th July and will involve 7,500 athletes from 185 nations, with the British team competing in 17 of the 22 sports disciplines.

This truly is the highest level of competition a SN judoka can currently reach. We wish Alex and Richard the very best of luck, we are all extremely proud of their training efforts and dedication to judo.

Five Scottish SN Players Selected for Team GB

Richard Cooke (Edinburgh JC), Andrew Smith (Clyde JC), Cameron Black and Alexander Ferrier (SJC Alba) have all been selected to represent Great Britain at the Beverwijk G-Judo Tournament in Holland which is being held in April. Owen Kelly (Wemyss Bay JC) has also been selected to participate as part of the GB Junior Team. The Beverwijk event is one of the foremost SN events in Europe with around 300 participants competing across five different levels of ability.

 
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