Judo club back after enforced covid break

Judo club back after enforced covid break

Laura Crncec, Johanna Ligier, Jenna Cotter, Aimee Cotter, Marharyta Gorbatyuk receiving the Provincial cup as Cork City Judo Club are presented Irish Judo Club Challenge Winners Munster 2023

Cork City Judo Club is celebrating a return to form after the challenges of Covid-19. 

The club has successfully regained members and attracted new ones through targeted marketing efforts, while also expanding its focus to include competitive tournament participation. 

With the help of a National Lottery grant and a strong network through the Irish Judo Association (IJA), the club has achieved great success in recent regional events.

Post-Covid, the club has doubled its mat size to 200 sq metres, allowing for larger classes and the ability to divide classes according to ability levels and ages. 

A concerted effort to develop a strong tournament team has paid off, with Cork City Judo Club attending several regional events over the past 18 months, garnering numerous medals and titles.

Among the standout performers are Marharyta Gorbatyuk, a 14-year-old Ukrainian born athlete, and Jenna Cotter, an 11-year-old judoka with a family history in the sport. 

Jenna Cotter (left) and Johanna Ligier (right) pictured with Double silver Olympic medalist and 6 times all japan champion Yoko Tanabe at the recent Irish Judo Club Challenge, where both athletes earned Gold medals.
Jenna Cotter (left) and Johanna Ligier (right) pictured with Double silver Olympic medalist and 6 times all japan champion Yoko Tanabe at the recent Irish Judo Club Challenge, where both athletes earned Gold medals.

Gorbatyuk has had an outstanding run of gold medal performances, dominating with her "Drop Seoi-nage" and "Uchi-mata" throws. Despite her young age, she is working towards earning her brown belt under the IJA. Jenna Cotter, following in the footsteps of her judo-ka family, has also achieved gold in all three National events, with "O-goshi" being her favourite throw.

The club has participated in major tournaments, including the Swords Open in October 2022, the All Ireland Championships in December 2022, the Galway Open in March 2023, and the Irish Judo Challenge in April 2023. Their performance has been impressive, earning the provincial title for the club with the most points in Munster.

The Cork City Judo Club continues to promote the eight values of Judo (Courage, Respect, Modesty, Friendship, Honour, Honesty, Self-control, and Courtesy) while also supporting recreational membership. 

The club fosters a culture of inclusivity, with many families training together, and has implemented a "Women in Sports" campaign, supported by Sport Ireland. This initiative provides a free Judo-gi and IJA licence to females over the age of seven, attracting more women to the sport.

In collaboration with the IJA, the club participates in the Mini Mons provincial tournament, offering newer competitors a chance to gain experience before moving on to bigger events. 

The focus is on socialising and fun, building a chain of positive experiences to motivate young athletes to progress with the sport. 

High-performance athletes also take part in National Squad training, where many international level athletes share their experiences with the next generation of competitors.

The Cork City Judo Club aims to promote Judo for various reasons, including learning a new hobby or skill, optimising fitness and strength, training for competition or belt grading exams, and fostering self-development by improving self-esteem and building resilience. Many of the club's teens have seen significant increases in self-confidence through their Judo training. 

For more information on the Cork City Judo Club, visit their website at www.corkcityjudo.com or find them on Instagram and Facebook. The first class is free for anyone interested in trying out the sport.

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