Olympics judo star pays visit to Bede’s School

Karina Bryant
Karina Bryant

Bede’s Prep School was lucky enough to be visited by a medallist from last summer’s 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Karina Bryant, our GB heavyweight Judo champion, was representing ‘Sport4All’, a company involved in raising funds for school sports equipment and funds to support potential Olympic athletes who struggle to fund their training.

Pupils at the school were asked to perform four simple fitness exercises and encouraged to do as many as possible for a minute at a time. With some upbeat music in the background and Karina shouting encouragement, there was a great atmosphere in the sports hall as pupils pushed their bodies to the limit.

After the exercises Karina was introduced in assembly to give a talk to the pupils, show off her hard-earned medal and answer any questions they might have. Some of the pupils, and even a couple of the staff, then tested their potential judo skills against each other on a mat!

Someone who witnessed her talk described it as “an inspiration, adding: “She has gained more than 20 medals at World and European Championships (she was European Champion on seven occasions) but for three Olympics in a row crashed out in the early stages, even though she was often the favourite. Four years of training each time with nothing to show. If there was ever a shining example of not giving up then here it was standing in front of us. Because the games were being held in her home country, Karina wanted to give the Olympics one more try and, despite being older than many of the other competitors and no longer one of the favourites, she at last came away with a medal.

“As the Bede’s pupils left the assembly, tired but inspired, some were lucky enough to hold the medal in their hands, not something many people can say they have done.”

Meanwhile, Bede’s students represented Sussex U18s at tennis in the Aegon U18 County Cup over three days the weekend before last. The competition consisted of two separate events, one for boys and one for girls, and is contested by a total of 44 counties from England, Scotland and Wales. The competing counties are split into 11 round-robin groups of four (per gender), with the teams playing each other over the three-day weekend. Each match consists of six singles and three doubles rubbers providing a final score out of nine. The winner of each group will be promoted for next year’s competition while the loser will be relegated. Logan Burgess-Hayes and Jack Burkill represented Sussex boys, playing at Redbridge, Essex against Warwickshire, Kent and Northumberland. Sussex lost to Kent 6-3, to Warwickshire 8-1 but beat Northumberland 5-4 and remain in division two.

For the girls, Helen Clements, playing at Number 1 with Holly Thompson, played at Deal in Kent against Kent, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Durham and Cleveland. Sussex beat Hampshire 7-2, Durham and Cleveland 8-1 and Kent 5-2 – and the team were duly promoted to the top division.

Julian Cash, former Bede’s pupil, now pursuing a professional career in tennis, was in Asia competing in ITF World Junior Tournaments.

Bede’s Director of Tennis, Julie Salmon said: “The Bede’s students showed determination, skill and perseverance working hard with their team mates to produce some solid results that we are really proud of.

“It was in particular a great result for the girls whose efforts helped promote Sussex to the top division for next year’s competition.”