• To Birmingham 2022

Judo has a new high performance home ahead of Birmingham

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Judo Australia (JA) in partnership with the Combat Institute of Australia (CombatAUS) are excited to announce the establishment of a full time Judo National Performance Centre at Albert Park, Melbourne.

The Judo National Performance Centre will provide the highest level of training and preparation for Australian Judoka to develop into competitive international athletes.

The establishment of a National Performance Centre (NPC) is supported by research of other international judo programs, with a centralised model demonstrating the most successful performance outcomes for high performance athletes.

The Judo NPC will run in conjunction with, and gain numerous cross-combat sport benefits from, the CombatAUS Taekwondo NPC, run out of the same venue.

Judo Australia CEO Emma Taylor is pleased to see the Judo high performance program further evolve.

“Our involvement with CombatAUS has presented an opportunity to engage with the infrastructure of an existing high performance centre and we know a centralised environment will benefit our athletes and enable them to achieve more competitive international results, including international medals,” Ms Taylor told Judo Australia.

“The National Performance Centre, in the Albert Park precinct, is ideal for the HP needs of judo in Australia.”

The establishment of the national performance centre announcement comes ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, where Judo returns to the sport programme for only the fourth time in Commonwealth Games history.

Judo first debuted at the Auckland 1990 Commonwealth Games where Australia finished with eight medals, including three silver medals for Suzanne Williams in the women’s lightweight, Geraldine Dekker in the women’s heavyweight and Dean Lampkin is the men’s half heavyweight.

At the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games, Australia’s team of judoka finished with five medals, including two team members breaking through to win gold.

Maria Pekli won gold in the women’s lightweight competition and Thomas Hill won gold in the men’s lightweight event.

Maria Pekli won gold at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games. (CGA Archive)

The sport most recently featured at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, where Australia’s team won four bronze medals, Jake Bensted in the men’s lightweight, Jake Andrewartha in the men’s heavyweight, with Amy Meyer and Chloe Rayner each claiming bronze in the women’s extra-lightweight after winning through the repechage bouts.

Australians Amy Meyer (right) and Chloe Rayner (second from right) each claiming bronze in the women’s extra-lightweight after winning through the repechage bouts. (CGA Archive)

In preparedness for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the NPC will provide judo athletes with a full time venue, elite coaching and supplementary performance support services focussing heavily on strength and conditioning, medical, physiotherapy and nutrition – all quality controlled through the Victorian Institute of Sport.

JA and CombatAUS are aiming to have judo athletes training in the NPC by October 2021.

CombatAUS CEO Alex Vallentine is pleased to have these two programs working together.

“The opportunity to have centralised national high performance programs for two CombatAUS sports is incredibly exciting,” Mr Vallentine said.

“CombatAUS has been able to facilitate shared opportunities and infrastructure that Judo and Taekwondo would not have been able to realise on their own.

“Together we are strengthening both of these sports by working together collectively.”

JA and CombatAUS recognise the continued importance of Judo clubs across the country, as well as the JA state-based Performance Hubs, in supporting aspiring high performance athletes to reach their potential.

With thanks Judo Australia.

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