Commonwealth gold medallist’s Portsmouth demonstration is a big hit

OUCH! Tom Davis, a member of the Judo GB team, spars with Richard Webb, 14, during a visit to the Mary Rose Special School
OUCH! Tom Davis, a member of the Judo GB team, spars with Richard Webb, 14, during a visit to the Mary Rose Special School
The Highfield Campus at the University of Southampton, which is home to the George Thomas Building. Picture: Geograph

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PROFESSIONAL judo player Tom Davis took on the might of youngsters at a special school who have been learning his sport in PE classes.

The Olympic hopeful and Commonwealth gold medallist was a major hit with children at Mary Rose Special School in Southsea, who were joined by GCSE students from St Edmund’s Catholic School on the day.

Davis talked to the schoolchildren about his career path and his dreams of competing at the London Games next year and even volunteered a couple of rounds of judo wrestling when the 11 to 13-year-old Mary Rose pupils demonstrated the skills they had learnt.

Hannah Gorman, head of PE at Mary Rose, said: ‘It was a brilliant day and Tom was a real inspiration to all the children.

‘He gave them a talk about his career and his journey to the Olympics. I’m sure many of them will now be watching him closely to see if he wins any medals.

‘Our children showed off their judo skills and he got involved and wrestled with a few of them, which was great fun for everyone.

‘He’s been a huge inspiration to everyone and a really good sport. It’s not every day that you meet a professional athlete and I know our children will remember his visit for a long time.’

Davis’ visit was organised by the Respectability scheme which aims to inspire disengaged children in mainstream schools and get them working with children with learning and physical disabilities.