Judoka partners tighten bond

Former Olympian John Buchanan presents Sportif Judo coach Peter Gardiner with the very first medal he won at the Scottish championships
Former Olympian John Buchanan presents Sportif Judo coach Peter Gardiner with the very first medal he won at the Scottish championships

Borders judo guru Peter Gardiner has been instrumental in a new partnership which can only strengthen the sport in the region.

Under the leadership of 1st Dan George Tones East March Judo Club has been growing within east Berwickshire for the last 23 years. Based in Foulden, and with Coach Gavin Smith working alongside George, the club has been quietly teaching judo to all abilities and ages for recreational, social, self-defence and competitive players.

Last January three talented members of the East March club were invited by Gardiner, of Sportif Judo, to train alongside their squad members giving rise to a talent pathway for East March players who are serious about competitive judo.

Over the past year both clubs have worked tirelessly to produce young judo players and 2015 finished on a high with East March claiming gold and silver medals at the Scottish Championships and a 2015 Scottish National Cadet Championship title. The final event of the year for Sportif saw them bring a host of Championship titles back to the region.

The two clubs have now decided to join forces to give their students the best opportunities available to them. East March-Sportif Judo has evolved from the collaboration as both clubs are proud to acknowledge each other’s contribution to the sport and their athletes.

Gardiner said: “Sportif Judo have an established talent programme that has seen us top the national medal table for the past nine years and the addition of East March’s athletes and coaches the programme has added strength and new impetus.”

The move has also been endorsed by the sports governing body.

“This is a great example of how one of our more successful larger clubs are working in partnership with one of our smaller member clubs helping them to build on their performance development and grow the sport of judo within the Borders,” said Judo Scotland development officer Johnny Imrie.