The Sport department at our Medway Campus currently has two Great Britain Judo prospects studying amongst them. Nicole Hillier is studying Level 3 Diploma in Sport and Neal Leech, Level 3 Sport and Exercise Science.

Nicole began to participate in judo alongside her family, starting at the tender age of just eight years old. A member of the Medway Park club – each club teaches different techniques so Nicole visits others across the south east. Competing in the under 48 kilo category, Nicole is a black belt 1st dan, part of the Kent squad and various national teams. She was recently selected to compete within the GB team by a scout and now takes part in training and competitions across the UK. At the end of last year Nicole was selected at the end of last year as a likely participant in the 2017 championships in December. She now has to accumulate points from competitions throughout the coming year, the better quality her fights, the more points she will gain. Her next goal is getting into the European squad and aiming to eventually achieve Commonwealth/Olympic Games selection. She is nervous but very excited about her future.

Similarly, Neal began his judo journey at a mere nine years of age. Having tried many different sports, Judo proved to be the one that got him hooked. He competes in the under 73 kilo weight category for the GB team and is also a black belt 1st dan. Neal credits his parents with being extremely supportive – especially as the majority of his participation in the sport is self-funded. He does have some sponsorship but nevertheless it is expensive to compete. He would like to aim to compete in the Olympic Games and trains at least four times a week – however he finds he has little spare time, what with coursework as well! Neal would like to progress to university to be a physiotherapist – he has gained this aspiration having seen so many in action at the clubs/competitions. He too, is excited by all of the opportunities that lie ahead.

March 2017 - in an update, Nicole has recently travelled to Belgium to compete in her first European competition. She won most of her fights and reuturned home with a well deserved bronze medal.

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