OLYMPIC dreams are still very much a reality for Haslingden High Sixth Form student Isaac Hope after he won gold in the England Judo Championships.
Isaac Hope first took up judo aged five when his father John took over as coach of the Bredakwai Judo Academy in Oswaldtwistle.
At the championships at the C2 Arena in London, Isaac, 16, competed in the under 73kg category.
He said: “We had driven down the previous day and stayed in a hotel, then driven about half an hour to the venue and when we got out of the car I didn’t feel well and was sick.
“I think I was dehydrated so I got some water and had some food and fortunately was feeling a little better.”
It was Isaac‘s first fight in a while and he got a bye in the first round and in his first fight went really well, he said he put into practise what he had been doing at the club and his movements were really good. He scored an Ippon, a winning move by throwing his opponent onto his back in a controlled manner.
Isaac said: “In the second round my opponent was very defensive and we fought for four minutes and then went into golden score [extra time]. As he was being so defensive and not attempting to throw me it was hard for me to throw him.
“I finally got an Ippon and his coach disputed it and they waived it; it took a few more minutes but I got another Ippon and then I was through to the final.
“At first my opponent’s movement was very good and he held me in the first exchange, then I managed to get a grip of him and in the next minute or so I managed to throw him for an Ippon and I had won.”
When Isaac started at Haslingden High School he said he wanted to eventually become an Olympian.
In 2019 he was in the Regional England Development Squad and then was accepted for the Elite Talent Development Squad.
Most Wednesdays he trains at the England Talent Development Centre at the University of Wolverhampton in Walsall and he said that helped him to face different opponents and improve his skills.
He said: “The Olympics is not yet within reach, but I am a lot of steps along the way to getting there.
“I hope to achieve it and represent Team GB in my late teens or early 20s.”
Isaac has just started studying A levels in German, French and Music.