Retford twins enjoyed success on and off the judo mat at the British Schools and English Open in Sheffield earlier this month.
On Saturday 8th March at the British Schools, Ben and Alice Skelton from Retford Judo Club, and pupils of Queen Elizabeth’s High School, achieved double success.
In the morning the pair weighed in as players, before clocking in for duty as volunteer timekeepers.
After working the clock all day, they then stepped away from the table, changed into their gi’s and fought.
Alice gained silver in her competition while Ben took bronze.
Last year Alice took gold, as Ben officiated.
She said: “It feels really good to be on both sides of the field.”
“In my opinion it ultimately it makes you a better player as you learn to understand the decisions made.”
“I was kind of disappointed that I lost out and I lost to the same girl I have faced before, but that’s judo for you.”
Ben added: Being an official is great because it gives you something to focus on while you are warming up for a competition as a player.”
“You are giving back to the judo community before you get on the mat.”
“Being involved on both sides you learn to appreciate the bigger picture and learn to understand more about the game, which ultimately helps you to perform on the mat.”
“We need more officials in the sport to help run competitions to keep competitions going and it makes sense that as players we can give something back to the judo community that has given us so much.”
In the Olympic year Ben received the British Judo Official of the Year award.
Perhaps his worst moment in the sport came when he was officiating as Alice broke her collarbone in a fight and had to watch her stretchered off.
“I had an operation and as soon as I healed I was back on the mat.”
“I love being a judo player.”
Chairman of the British Schools Commission (BSJC), Malcolm Collins said the contribution of players like the Retford twins was vital for the sport and events like the British Schools and English Open.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of this event and we couldn’t have done this without their help.”
“Everyone who took part in the event as a competitor and as a volunteer deserves ample recognition.”