Benjamin brings home gold for Dunstable judo club

Benjamin and his sister, Coco
Benjamin and his sister, Coco

A Leagrave boy is celebrating a gold medal win at the British Judo Council’s Closed Nationals held in Kettering on November 19.

Benjamin Ani-Adjei, eight, was competing with his fellow club mates from St Katherine’s Judo Kwai, Dunstable, as he attended his first national competition.

Benjamin with his sister, Coco, and his father, Sandy

Benjamin with his sister, Coco, and his father, Sandy

But the young sportsman should not have felt nervous, as he took home a gold medal for his team!

Benjamin said: “I was there with a team and we fought our heart out, every single one of us, and I am very proud to be part of the St Katherine Judo Club.

“I joined St Katherine’s in 2016. I have always liked sports; I tried different sports like tae kwon do, rugby and basketball which I still play weekly.

“I have always been competitive, but I never understood why others won medals and I didn’t.

Benjamin with his sister, Coco, and his mother, Alina.

Benjamin with his sister, Coco, and his mother, Alina.

“I asked my dad and he explained that I can achieve anything I put my mind to, if I really needed it.

“I had to work very hard every week, learning my techniques and learning from the other students who had more experience than I did.

“I have taken part in various competitions and I have won bronze medals, silver medals and some gold medals in regional competitions. There was one where I had to be moved up a category because of my weight, but I ended up with a bronze! My opponents were stronger and more experienced, and I learnt from the experience.

“This national competition was my first and a big one for me, and again I was moved up a category, which made me nervous. Somehow I kept calm and carried on!

“I never dreamt that I could win the nationals in my category, but winning in the end has given me more confidence and a belief that I can achieve anything, I just have to believe in myself and put in the work hard. I am very thankful to my Senseis for all their support and for preparing me for nationals.”