Sandra Hughes joined her local judo club at the age of five and never looked back. Here she tells us a little bit about a contact sport known as ‘the gentle way’.
What’s the best thing about watching Judo live?
The atmosphere in the arena is electric with everyone routing for their player.
Who’s your judo hero?
When I was growing up in the 80s it was Karen Briggs. I was lucky enough to see her compete live at Crystal Palace. In the 90s, Kate Howey took the reins, winning medals for GB. Now it’s Gemma Gibbons.
What’s your best memory from watching or taking part in judo?
There are so many to choose from – from fighting for my county as a junior, winning the Kent Closed, returning from injury to fight at the Commonwealth Masters Tournament in 2012 and watching Olympic & Paralympic Judo events live at London 2012.
Which judo star should people look out for at Glasgow 2014?
Nekoda Davis. She’s been coming up through the ranks and her recent run of form makes her one to watch, for sure.
Why should people who don’t know anything about judo buy tickets to watch it at Glasgow 2014?
Judo is a complex sport to understand, but it can also just be admired for its beauty and the skill on display. Even if you don’t understand all of it, you’ll still enjoy it.
The players deserve our support, so get down there and shout as loud as you can! If you see it live at Glasgow 2014, you’ll be able to feel the atmosphere for yourself.
What are some common misconceptions about judo?
Judo is a contact sport and as such people often believe that it’s violent. In fact, Judo means ‘the gentle way’, and there is more emphasis on skill and using the opponent’s momentum against them, than brute force and hard knocks. This misconception often, unfortunately, means fewer girls and women enter the sport, even though it is the best form of self-defence there is.
Can you sum up what Glasgow 2014 will be like in three words?
Electric, passionate, amazing.