Judo: Kendal hosts British Olympic squad

THE British Judo squad for the Olympics spent three days in Kendal on an intensive winter training camp this week.

Kendal Dojo hosted the camp, which saw 160 people arrive in the town as part of the team, and they were rigorously put through their paces through a variety of training methods.

The club hosted the squad four years ago, prior to the Beijing Olympics, and with many of the squad familiar with the facilities, it was deemed to be the right choice to hold the winter camp in Kendal again.

During their time in Kendal, the squad were sent on runs up Scout Scar, with rock-lifting thrown in, log races in the Serpentine Woods, randori (sparring) sessions and technical judo skills.

Head coach at Kendal Dojo Mike Liptrot said: “This is the 25th year of the winter training camp and ahead of every Olympic cycle they come to Kendal.

“In October many of the squad trained here with performance director Daniel Lascau and he asked me if he could bring the British team here to train.”

And the camp, which ran for three days, saw all of the top British judo stars des-cend on the town, including Euan Burton, Peter Cousins and Sophie Cox, before they travel to Mittersill in Austria for another camp.

Liptrot added: “We set the ethos and volume of training high and there has been everything here the squad need to train. GB will come back another couple of times before the Olympics.

“It shows the younger members of the club that they are doing similar kinds of training to the top athletes and they will have their own tournaments or ‘little Olympics’ which they are trying to achieve success in too.

“Each event we hold gets bigger and bigger and 14 of the 30 currently in the main squad here will compete in London.”

British judo coach Billy Cusack, who spent two years training in Kendal under Tony McConnell, said the British Judo Association has set an achievement goal of one medal at London 2012. But he also insists that many of his team have the belief to achieve greater than that.

He added: “The work being done here will launch the Olympic year and will stand us in good stead ahead of a training camp in Austria next week.

“Not many countries will cancel this New Year but we have and we are training in great facilities at this camp.”

“There is a brilliant attitude and mentality at the Dojo and that is the right environment for us to be training in.”