Holbrook capitalise on Olympic legacy

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HOW to maximise the impact of a fantastic summer for British sport?

That was the key question for everyone involved in grass-roots sport after the success of London 2012.

Legacy, legacy, legacy – the word has been ringing in the ears of coaches across the nation.

It’s something Holbrook Judo Club have taken note of in a big way.

They are tapping into growing interest in their sport that is reaching new levels, following the summer sporting spectacular.

Expect it to go up another notch in the coming months as well, with Olympic medallist Karina Bryant and Paralympic medallist Ben Quilter about to drop in on the club at Brune Park School, Gosport.

Bryant encapsulated the fabulous spirit of the Games when she powered to a bronze medal in the women’s over 78kg category – and made no secret of her delight at the achievement.

Quilter then equalled her effort with a bronze in the under 60kg category as the Paralympians followed the example of their Olympian colleagues.

The duo will hold training sessions and demonstrate their skills in Gosport – adding to what is a great time for the club.

Coach Paul Vello said: ‘The Olympics has had an incredible impact upon attendance.

‘We now have 60 to 70 kids through the doors every week and we actively encourage new members.

‘We train different groups, from Monday to Friday and train on Saturdays as well.

‘New members are given free classes for a period of time to decide if they want to join.’

Bryant and Quilter will be demonstrating a range of throws and holds at the club’s new dojo at Brune Park School on November 17.

It will undoubtedly be an experience never to forget for the club members.

Vello added: ‘I am sure the players taking part in the masterclass will enjoy being taught by two of the world’s top judo players, who have European, world and Olympic medals to their name.

‘We will have two masterclasses, one after the other in the day.

‘This way we maximise the opportunity for people to be involved.’

The visit from two of the sport’s top names comes after Holbrook raised money for the British Judo Trust.

It is the sixth time they have been rewarded for their impressive fundraising efforts.

And for Vello this is definitely the best prize the club have received.

He said: ‘As part of our annual May Madness fundraising campaign, a number of our members took part in a 10-minute sponsored throw.

‘We raised a grand total of £1,378 for the British Judo trust and won the honour of being the top fundraisers in Great Britain.

‘In the past, we have been given tickets to events and had visits from officials involved in British Judo but this prize really is a bit special.’

Both visits will take place at Brune Park School on November 17 with fellow judo clubs invited to attend.

Meanwhile, Gemma Bavister was a bronze medallist in the under-70kg category at the recent Heart of England under-18 Championships in Walsall in September.

The Holbrook club teenager will be among a host of young fighters looking to draw inspiration from Bryant and Quilter.