Dedication to judo earns award for Borders martial arts master Rick Kenney

Borders judo expert Rick Kenney has been presented with an award in recognition of his services to the martial art over almost six decades.

Sunday, 14th November 2021, 6:20 pm
Updated Sunday, 14th November 2021, 6:20 pm
Rick Kenney after being given his award at a prize-giving ceremony in Warwickshire (Photo: Mike Varey)

The 69-year-old, of Galashiels, was presented with a values award by British Judo at a prize-giving ceremony held south of the border at Warwick University.

Kenney, vice-president of Judo Scotland, is chuffed to bits with that latest accolade, telling us: “I’m absolutely delighted.

“It was totally unexpected. I didn’t know anything about it until I got an invitation to the awards.

“It’s nice to be recognised again for what I’ve been doing.”

That award is for dedication to his sport over many years and for tireless promotion of its values both in the UK and internationally.

Kenney, given an Order of the British Empire last year for his services to judo, has competed for UK and Scotland and is one of only a handful of Scots to be graded as a seventh dan.

He coached the Scottish men’s judo team in the 1980s and 1990s, attending competitions at home and abroad, and was also British Judo’s team manager at world and European championships in the early ’80s, as well being its vice-chairman from 1997 to 2004.

Kenney, vice-chairman of Galashiels Community Council since 2014, has been a member of the national governing body for judo in Scotland since 1963 and joined its executive committee in 1976, being appointed as vice-chairman in 1989 and chairman in 1994.

He was also among those involved in the discussions in 1986 that resulted in the creation of the Commonwealth Judo Association and the sport being included in the 1990 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand and he was elected as president of the association in 2013.

Originally from Motherwell in North Lanarkshire, Kenney, a stepfather of one and grandfather of two, has lived in the Borders since 2003, mostly in Galashiels but also at Clovenfords for a while.

Though he’ll be 70 in May next year, Kenney, formerly sport and recreation manager at Scottish Borders Council, still likes to keep his hand in at the sport he loves, saying: “I keep myself going as best I can.

“The body can’t take bruises, hits and falls as well as it could as it gets older but I’ve managed to keep relatively fit.”