England title for Judo fighter Isaac

JUDO fighter Isaac Hope has been crowned Heart of England Champion in the senior men’s -73kg category keeping his Olympic dreams alive.

Isaac, 17, is now in his final year of his A levels at Haslingden High School and Sixth Form.

He was five when he took up the sport at Bredakwai Gym in Oswaldtwistle, where his dad John had taken over as coach.

His latest competition was at Walsall near the Centre of Excellence which is where he goes for monthly training weekends as a member of the England Elite Talent Development Squad.

Isaac said: “We were split into two pools of four fighters in each pool. All four fighters in the pool fought each other and I won all my three matches.”

Each fight was four minutes with extra golden score time should it be needed to get a clear winner.

Isaac, from Oswaldtwistle, said: “I felt very tired because it was extremely warm in the sports hall and with everyone fighting the temperature inside was ridiculous.

“I won and got into the semi-final when I played against the person who came second from the other pool; and I beat him.

“Then the person who was second in my pool beat his opponent in the semi-final and so we fought each other for a second time in the final.

“I just kept thinking, I have done it once I can do it again. That one was the longest fight and it went into golden time, but I won.”

Isaac has represented England in European competitions and in 2019 won gold in the Alkmaars International Open in Holland, now he will be fighting against under 21s.

He added: “I am hoping to take judo as far as I can and I don’t want to stop. If I can carry it on as an adult I would like to represent my country and hopefully I could end up in the Olympics. I would like to think I am quite good at it.

“I want to go on to university and study modern foreign languages and continue with my judo.”