Walsall to host European Judo Championships

The British city will stage the continental event between 3-6 August. 07 Mar 2017
A male judoka in a while suit puts a move on another male judoka in a blue suit.

Christopher Skelley (blue suit) will lead GB's squad for the 2017 European Championships.

By British Judo

“We are aiming to put in a really strong performance in front of a home crowd and lay down a marker for the Tokyo cycle.”

The 2017 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) European Judo Championships will take place at the University of Wolverhampton in the British city of Walsall, from 3-6 August, as announced by British Judo.

Great Britain last hosted the event in 2011 in Crawley, and also staged the successful 2016 Visually Impaired Judo Grand Prix, in Walsall.

The European Championships will be followed by a three-day training camp, giving Europe's best visually impaired judokas the opportunity to train alongside some of Great Britain's top sighted judokas at the British Judo Centre of Excellence.

A number of Paralympians, including Rio 2016 medallists, are expected to compete.

British judoka Chris Skelley, who came fifth in the men’s -100kg at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, is looking forward to competing in front of his home crowd.

“It is brilliant that we will have the chance to fight in front of a home crowd at a major international event this year,” he said.

“Fighting in Rio last year we all saw how important home support was for the Brazilian athletes and I think it will make a big difference fighting in Great Britain at the Europeans.

“It is also really good for our family and friends to have a major Championship on home soil as they do not get many opportunities to see us compete at an international level so that will be a nice change.

“We have got five months to prepare now and I honestly cannot wait. I think it will be a great event and a really important stepping stone on the road to Tokyo.”

Paralympic Head Coach Ian Johns is also anxious for the event to kick off.

“I cannot wait. As a sport I think it is great that IBSA have shown so much faith in us and after hosting the Grand Prix last year, I know they were very keen on us hosting one of their events in 2017,” he said.

“From a coaching perspective, it is really good to have a major Championship for our athletes to build towards this year and the fact that it is on home soil makes it even better.

“We are aiming to put in a really strong performance in front of a home crowd and lay down a marker for the Tokyo cycle.”

British Judo Performance Director Nigel Donohue added: “It will be a great opportunity for our judokas to compete in front of a home crowd and we are sure they will put on a good show for the British supporters.

“I would like to thank the University of Wolverhampton for their support in hosting the Championships this summer and British Blind Sport for supporting our bid.

“I would also like to thank IBSA for giving us this opportunity and the British Paralympic Association for their continued support.”

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