Hackney judoka gains his black belt at British Schools Championships

Johnnie Grant (second from left) with fellow competitors at the British Schools Championships

Johnnie Grant (second from left) with fellow competitors at the British Schools Championships - Credit: Archant

A Hackney college student has become the first Yellow Belt Challenge participant to achieve his black belt at the British Schools Championships.

Johnnie Grant, who is a pupil at BSix college in Upper Clapton, first took up the sport at Petchey Academy and went on to train at Queensbridge Leisure Centre on Holy Street.

All the hard work has paid off, with the young judoka becoming the British Schools national champion at Under-60kg for Years 11 and 12.

Victory earlier this month saw Grant collect the final 10 points needed to gain his black belt, just three years after making his start in judo with the initial support of the Yellow Belt Challenge in east London.

Grant, who has also trained as a junior referee, has now set his sights on competing at the highest level, having already tasted success at the London Youth Games, Kent International and Southend International tournaments.

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“I hope to progress, build on my performances and join the national programme and one day compete as an international judoka at World Championships and Olympic Games,” he said.

“I will also hopefully start my Level 1 coaching award later this year as I would like to help develop other players within my club and maybe one day run my own judo club.”

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Hackney Judo Club head coach Calvin Walker-Hall was delighted to see Grant achieve his black belt, after enrolling him in the Yellow Belt Challenge upon seeing his potential.

“This was an amazing achievement for him as not only did he win all contests by ippon but also accumulated the last 10 points needed for his black belt,” said Walker-Hall.

“That made him the highest grading Fighting Chance graduate, obtaining the grade in only three years and becoming Hackney Judo Club’s first homegrown black belt.”

If you would like to learn more about the Yellow Belt Challenge, visit http://www.yellowbeltchallenge.co.uk/

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