Young Islander’s Move To Mainland Could Be Springboard To Judo Gold

Harry Stone

Harry Stone

One young islander is hoping a move to a mainland college could provide a springboard to Olympic gold.

16-year-old Harry Stone has been competing at the highest levels of judo in his age group for several years. Last year, he’s represented the country at junior level in Belgium and Holland.

But dad Dave Stone says our island location is bringing some disadvantages for his progress.

The St Mary’s Judo Club where Harry trains is affiliated to the British Judo Council. But Harry needs to be winning medals in competitions organised by a different body, the British Judo Association.

It’s the BJA who select members for Britain’s national team, so decide which competitors can go forward for the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

But Dave says some of the moves and rules are different, so Harry is “always playing catch up.” And unless he can win medals in BJA competitions, he won’t get picked.

There’s also no one he can compete against in Scilly and only gets to fight competitively about once every three months.

Others at his level get to practice at high level several times a week on the mainland.

While Dave says this shows he has natural talent, the cost of attending the competitions is around high, at around £6,000 a year.

He’s grateful for the help they’ve had from the islands’ Rotary Club and Masons, as well as Jackson’s Wealth in Penzance, Skybus and Children’s Services.

Dave is hoping that a move to Hartpury College in Gloucester this September could give Harry the opportunity for more competition and training.

Dave says it has an elite academy for talented sportspeople and there’s a BJA-affiliated club close by. It also means it will be easier for Harry to get to competitions on a more regular basis.

But there’s a big weekend coming up for Harry. He’s off to the Judo Schools Qualifiers in Sheffield on Sunday.

Dave says this will decide whether he can go forward to an important national round in March, and he hopes he can start winning medals at the right tournaments from September.

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