I started judo at the age of nine in a small village called Gierle in Belgium. I am very passionate about judo and love the sport’s ethos and the respect between judo players. On the tatami I have always been a little warrior; although my judo talent was limited, judo taught me to never give up and always believe in yourself. This led to one of my biggest successes in my judo competition career; winning the final at the Belgian National University Championships against Catherine Jacques who was Ulla Werbrouck’s, (one of Belgian’s greatest judokas) successor. I always loved participating in competitions and I attended as many as I could. Thanks to my super supportive parents, I was on the tatami nearly every weekend, either competing in championships, getting Dan grade points at tsukinami shiai or attending regional and national training sessions. Some of my other main achievements include team gold at the Belgian National University Championships, individual bronze at the U20 Belgian Nationals, and individual bronze at the U20 Flanders Open Championship and 7th at the Belgian Ladies Open Arlon. Whilst I have always loved contest judo, I am now focussing more on the technical aspect and coaching the youngsters.
After a 6-year break from judo, I joined Abingdon Judo Club in 2017 when my son of 5 started judo. However, sitting on the bench as a spectator was very hard so I was delighted to be invited onto the mat by Sensei Siobhan. It has been a pleasure to be involved in coaching the children and offer my expertise.
This year, I have been able to make the senior sessions as well; it feels so good (well, very sore afterwards…) to play judo again and to be so welcomed by the club. Next up the wish list is to get my Belgian coaching certificated validated in Britain. So my judo journey continues.
1st Dan, Flemish Judo Federation, competition: 1996
2nd Dan, Flemish Judo Federation, competition: 2001
3rd Dan, Flemish Judo Federation, competition: 2004
4th Dan, British Judo Association, technical: 2019
Youth coaching grade, Flemish Judo Federation: 2001