March 2018: Judo fighters dream of Olympic place

JUDO fighters from our school are setting their sights on representing Team GB at a future Olympics.

Declan Bargh, 13, and Isaac Hope, 11, both competed at the Craven Open competition at Settle and won gold in their respective categories.

Declan won his five fights to take gold. He is currently the best pre-cadet in the North West, which earned him the opportunity to compete in the Great Britain team in Belgium at the Izegem Open 2018.

He said: “In Belgium I had seven fights and I won six of them and got the bronze medal.

“I was fighting in the U15s and under 55kg category. I weigh 51.9kg and so I was taking on lads that were not only older than me but many weighed more too.

“The fighter who beat me went on to win the gold.”

At the competition fighters came from France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany as well at the UK.

Declan started judo six years ago and is a member of Bacup Judo Club.

Isaac is a member of Bredakwai Judo Club based at Accrington Academy where his dad, John, is the coach.

He said: “I fight in the U12s but my dad put me in for the U16s and under 42kg at Craven.

“That meant I was fighting older lads who were of a similar weight to myself. I had three fights and won them all.

“I have also taken part in competitions in France and been on a training camp in Holland.

“I enjoy judo because I get to see all of my friends and I wouldn’t have half as many friends if I didn’t go to judo.”

They both said they would love to represent their country at a future Olympics.