A very special event at Lismore PCYC
The club’s annual Judo tournament attracted 90 competitors including seven with varying degrees of disability from clubs as far away as Taylor’s Arm and south-east Queensland.
Sensei (Japanese for teacher) Alan said that he was particularly impressed with the special needs competitors.
“The four males and three females were aged from 13 to 29 years-of-age and have a variety of disorders including Cerebral Palsy and Autism,” he said.
“One of them was completely blind; how good’s that? I’m pleased that we went ahead and gave them a go. You could see their confidence and self-esteem shoot up in an instant and they’ve formed positive relationships with the other competitors.”
National referee, Maurie Mirabito, a 6th-dan Judo black belt, said that it ‘was a joy to see people with disabilities expressing themselves on a Judo mat’.
Following the competition’s obvious success in Lismore, sensei Alan will help other clubs that choose to introduce a special needs division into their programmes.
He will work with Brisbane’s Y-south and Y-west clubs with the support of Queensland referees.
The PCYC provided several trophies for the various divisions despite not having secured sponsorship for the event.