Swedish adventure for Rushjudo’s Mencap class aces

Rushjudo's Mencap class took on competitors from throughout Europe at the Gothenburg Special Needs Judo Open
Rushjudo's Mencap class took on competitors from throughout Europe at the Gothenburg Special Needs Judo Open

Rushjudo’s Mencap class travelled to Sweden for the 10th anniversary of the Gothenburg Special Needs Judo Open – taking on competitors from all over Europe.

Rushjudo took a large squad of 16 competitors and a further 16 supporters for what turned out to be an amazing experience. For some members it was their first time abroad which made it extra special.

There were more than 80 competitors taking part in total, with varying degrees of learning disabilities.

The Rushjudo squad took to the mat with pride and supported each other with passion. They showed skill, courage and demonstrated some lovely judo but above all made some fantastic new friends.

The organisers broadcasted the event live on the internet which allowed family and friends back home to keep up with action.

With a fantastic medal haul of two golds, three silvers and 11 bronzes, Rushjudo and Great Britain finished second in the overall standings.

A special mention has to go to Graham Light and Chris Day who won all their fights with dynamic big ippon victories.

The fight of the day went to the gentle giant Harry Refsum who fought the huge Swedish champion. With scores going to each player, Harry was finally overcome by his opponent.

The sportsmanship between them was incredible with ‘Big Mike’ from Sweden saying that was one of his toughest fights ever.

Rushjudo Coach Matthew Rush said: “This has been one of the most amazing experiences ever. The guys fought brilliantly and we have been looked after so well. I cant wait for the next foreign tour.”

The day was completed with a celebration dinner and disco put on by the organisers, followed by a master class on the Sunday morning before flying home.

The trip was only made possible thanks to the support Rushjudo received from local councillors Ron Tindall, IanReay, Collette Wyatt-Lowe, and Richard Roberts, as well as The Oddfellows, GW Cowler and Dacorum Borough Council.

Rushjudo has been running a dedicated judo class for people with learning disabilities in partnership with Dacorum Mencap for the last five years and are always looking for new members to join. Details can be found at www.rushjudo.co.uk