Disabled fighter from Chichester chases Judo gold at British Open

Patrick Kimber, 26, is set to return to competition later this year.Patrick Kimber, 26, is set to return to competition later this year.
Patrick Kimber, 26, is set to return to competition later this year.
A disabled fighter from Chichester has set his sights on gold at this year’s British Open, on July 13

Patrick Kimber, who lives with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, said this will be his first competition in almost ten years, after tearing through the international rankings as a teenager.

"I got 12 medals as a Junior, and 10 of them were gold, so I did fairly well. And I competed at a lot of smaller, club competitions, often against able-bodied opponents.”

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At one point, he’d had his heart set on Paralympic success, before discovering that the competition, simply didn’t cater to athletes with his condition.

"It was heart-breaking,” Patrick said. “Especially because I was doing so well. I was like three years undefeated at one point. Fighting here, there and everywhere, up and down the country.”

When he stepped away from competition to pursue university and music, however, Patrick felt a hole open up in his life that only Judo could fill. “I missed it terribly,” he explained. “I hated feeling like I was getting out of shape, and that my skills were no good because I’d had such a big break. I’m classed as a vulnerable adult anyway, and I hate that. It’s why I did Judo in the first place, I want to be the least vulnerable vulnerable adult on the planet.”

Having moved to Sussex and restarted his training at Chichester Ronin Judo Club, Patrick, now 26, said he’s never felt better, and the call of competition is as strong as it ever was.

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“I’ve been watching everyone else at the club compete and it’s made me want to get back out there. The closer it gets, the more confident I feel. I’m in the best shape of my life, I’m training at Chichester Ronin Judo Club, and they’re obviously brilliant, they’ve adapted stuff for me and helped me up with game plans, they’ve been amazing. LV Rehab is my physiotherapist, and I’ve told them about it, and they’ve been really supportive. They’ve got me on a rigorous strength and conditioning programme.

"My cardio is off the charts right now, I’m doing all these rounds and it’s just so fun to watch able-bodied people sitting out, exhausted and I’m like ‘come on! give me another one!’

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