Nelson Judo club members show off some of the 17 medals the club won at the Wellington Open Championships. Photo Jacob Page.

Nelson judo players bag big medal haul

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These are exciting times for the Nelson Judo Club.

A team of 18 came home with a swag of medals from the Wellington Open Championships, the club just ran a successful holiday programme which saw some of the best clubs from New Zealand come to Nelson, and they have moved into a far more judo conducive facility next to Victory Boxing Gym.

Not bad for a club that had single digit members a matter of a few years ago.

Two of their more experienced Judo players, Josh Nahi and Louise Kelly, are set to take part in the Oceania Championships in Tonga this weekend.

Wellington proved wildly successful with gold medals to Libety Dickin, John Maxwell, Paul Hammett, Bianca Neighbours, Ryan Crompton, Zak Hammett and Jack Potter.

Silver medals went to Brooke Hammett and Josh Nahi while Paul added a silver to his gold.

Bronze medals went to Brooke, Bianca, Jack, Ben Hammett and Aiden Burke.

Oliver Lewis and Nils Thevenard lost bronze medal bouts.

Paul says judo in Nelson contiunues to go from strength-to-strength and he’s already seeing the benefit of the move from the Whakatu Estate to Victory Boxing.

“It’s amazing, we’ve already picked up a few stragglers and to sign up our 81st member last week, when it was at six or eight, two or three years ago, is amazing.

“The Victory facility is a lot bigger, and our gameplan is to have a 15x15m mat, which is international size, in there.”

Paul says results like the ones in Wellington are turning heads nationally and it helped bring judokas from famed Nippon Club to the holiday camp.

He says having competitive players from all age groups means Nelson is growing a decent reputation in producing top people in the sport and people are coming out of their way to get involved.

The club would like to thanks Pic’s, Proper Crisps, McDonalds Nelson, Tahuna and Richmond, Pomeroys and Scott Gibbons for sponsoring the gift packs for the holiday programme. which were well received after a buddy week on the mats by all those who attended the first ever event of its type in Nelson.