Young and aspiring Judo martial artists were given the opportunity to show off their skills and compete against fellow sportsman at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre recently, following the launch of the London Youth Games.

The competition saw 27 different boroughs represented by participants known as judoku (young judo members) who all participated in a fun day of competition and coaching. The Games offer competitive opportunities for young sportsmen of varying abilities and experience and has been a real stepping stone in the careers of international and Olympic athletes in the past.

With an array of Arsenal supporting stars featuring at London 2012, Tian Sewell-Morgan from Hackney showed all the hallmarks of a future Olympian, beating off all 26 other boroughs in what was a really high standard of Judo. Having started Judo as part of her Satellite Club in Cardinal Pole School, Hackney, Tian has been training weekly and has progressed greatly in the programme.

Speaking about her win, Tian said “I’m really shy when it comes to things like this but I felt happy and proud of myself. The medal was heavier than it looked and I felt like I deserved because I had trained hard. My family, friends and classmates are really supportive of me when it comes to judo and my main aim is to go to the Olympics in Rio 2016. I also give great thanks to Gabor, Josef and Gio for pushing me and developing my skills, technique and strength in mind, soul and body - it sounds clichéd but it’s true!”

Ross McKinley, Premier League 4 Sport Cordinator for Arsenal in the Community added: “We are really proud of Tian’s achievements in the Youth Games. We have aided Hackney in their Youth Games teams in a number of sports, including Judo, Badminton, Hockey and Volleyball over the past few years and Tian’s success shows how partnership working (through local authorities, community clubs and governing bodies) can really benefit our young people. Well done again Tian.”

Coach Gabor Szanyi-Nagy also spoke of Tian’s achievements: “As a coach we always want some players like Tian who is a really hard-working person and she always has maximum effort at every session. Before the London Youth Games, she came and trained with the senior class. She is a very strong player with great concentration. She is one of the players who is very strongly focused on what I say before her fights.”

Since January 2010, Arsenal’s Premier League 4 Sport Judo programme has been working with the London Judo Club, Capital London Judo Club, British Judo Association and Hackney Council in three boroughs (Islington, Camden and Hackney) to help players progress through the Judo belt system.

With no Premier League 4 Sport National Judo competition, the London Youth Games has seen the players face their biggest event as their progress throughout the programme is ultimately put to the test. It is hoped that Tian’s achievement will inspire more young people to take up Judo in their local community.

For general enquiries on Arsenal’s Premier League 4 Sport initiative or information on the Capital London Judo Club, please contact Ross McKinley on rmckinley@arsenal.co.uk.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 30 Jul 2012