Year 10 student Oliver Smith has made a comeback in the world of judo after breaking his foot in competition some two years ago.
Oliver won a silver medal in the under 73kg class at the Devon Closed Judo Competition in Torbay Leisure Centre on Sunday, February 7.
It was an impressive return to form for Oliver who suffered injury in the very same event held at Kingsbridge in 2014 – and again faced the same opponent.
Having taken a sabbatical from the sport, Oliver began training again in December 2015 and joined Kingsbridge’s Quayside Judo Club.
Ready to do battle once more, his first bout was against the very person who threw him two years ago resulting in the broken foot.
Determined not to let the same didn’t happen again, Oliver tackled his opponent, a member of the England squad, as hard as he could but eventually lost his first bout.
However, remaining bouts were a different story with Oliver taking just three seconds to dispatch his second opponent – the fastest ‘ippon’ or in judo terms a knockout of the competition.
He continued his winning form against remaining opponents, with the final one being disqualified for trying to keep Oliver at arms length and for not attacking, which is not in the spirit of Judo.
Oliver began judo as a six year-old, then as a pupil at Blackawton Primary School and has progressed from club level to area, national and international level taking bronze for Dartmouth Academy at the British National Schools Championships in 2013 – the highlight of his judo achievements. A Year 10 student at the academy, he aspires to become a black belt and coach and wants to open up a judo club in Dartmouth to inspire children to take up the discipline and learn the skills that bring confidence and fitness.
Oliver’s dad Nick Smith said: ‘Oliver loves his Judo and having taken a break from it for a couple of years, it was heart warming to see him back on the Judo mat doing his thing.
Oliver trains every week with Quayside Judo Club and also at Torquay twice a week and somehow also manages to shoehorn in rowing twice a week and table tennis every Tuesday night.