If sufficient funds are raised for the capital project, the Institute will be housed in a £5 million extension to the existing Dartford Judo Club, one of the best dedicated dojos in Great Britain.
The facilities in the Institute will include not only access to the two existing full mat areas, but an additional small matted room for focused coaching and sport science work, a high performance gym and rehab area, a coach planning facility, a performance analysis suite, medical consultation and treatment rooms and staff offices.
Dartford Borough Council has pledged support and will provide land to the value of £1.5m, and contribute to the cost of consultants and architect fees.
As one of the few sports not to have a dedicated performance space, the plans for an Institute are viewed as being vital to the success of British Judo as they head towards London 2012 and beyond. The Institute will mirror some of the centralised training facilities, which have been established in France and Japan; two countries that consistently achieve significant medal tallies at the Olympic Games and World Championships.
After reviewing a number of facilities across the United Kingdom, Dartford Judo Club was chosen as the favoured site due to ability to build a bespoke and exclusive facility, the opportunities for partnership with Dartford Borough Council, as well as the existing facilities within Dartford Judo Club. The location for access to high numbers of training partners, accommodation opportunities and links with local academic institutions were also taken into consideration.
British Judo believes that the Institute will revolutionise the British Judo’s performance environment and enable every member of the British Judo performance team to work effectively and in a truly interdisciplinary manner.
Once built the Institute will be the base for a number of athletes on a residential basis as well as the venue for day training and squad training camps. It will also link into a number of key performance centres located within the Home Countries, and allow for high level collaboration and exchange of judo specific knowledge in the areas of coaching, sports science, sports medical, talent identification and talent developments.
Karen Roberts, World Class Operations Manager said, “The Mission 2012 initiative created by UK Sport ahead of London 2012 and Glasgow 2014, has provided a catalyst to create a Performance System, which will underpin the World Class Programme of British Judo not only for these two major events, but for years to come in the future. The British Judo Performance Institute will be a hub of expertise within the system that can be drawn upon by all Performance athletes and coaches. We have all seen the success of British Teams in sports such as Rowing, Cycling, Sailing, and in the last 6 months Boxing, who have benefited from having a focused, centralised Performance Environment - it is a very exciting prospect for the future of High Performance Judo in the UK."
Margaret Hicks, Director of World Class Programmes said, “British Judo is at a critical point in establishing a Performance Institute, and essential to developing a specialist facility is the securing of capital funding. We have excellent partners in Dartford Judo Club and Dartford Borough Council who have a real willingness and desire to work with us and make this happen”.
“To have all of our expert coaching, sport science and sports medical expertise regularly working together out of one performance site will help develop a system which is world class and provide the best possible support for players, coaches and other support staff working across the whole British Judo performance network. Working closely with our funding organisation UK Sport, the new funding cycle leading into London 2012 offers enormous opportunity for judo to meet its aspirations”, she added.
Scott Walker, UK Sport Performance Programme Consultant said, “Clearly it will be a great advantage for our leading Judo players to have a dedicated institute incorporating cutting edge facilities. British Judo’s plans have put the athlete and coach’s needs firmly at the heart of the proposals and it could have a significant effect on the potential of the sport as we head towards London 2012 and beyond".
Jeremy Kite, Leader of Dartford Borough Council, said, “Dartford Judo Club has become a beacon for elite players since the new dojo was created by Dartford Borough Council in 2006. Adding the National Performance centre to the campus makes perfect sense and it opens up great opportunities for the local community as well as some of the best judo players in the world. In the run up to the 2012 games it will be great to think of Dartford as ‘judo town’.
Dartford’s location links London and Europe whilst offering connections to the rest of the UK’s major cities and close proximity to the 2012 Olympic Games site and the Judo venue at the Excel Centre in East London. Local services are second to none, ensuring competitors can concentrate on their sport without distraction.”
Alan Roberts, Head Coach of Dartford Judo Club said, “Dartford Judo Club will be very pleased to enter into this partnership with the British Judo Association. All levels of our own membership will benefit from this great opportunity, enjoying much greater access to higher levels of training, coaching and facilities, and a feeling of really being part of the build up to 2012 and beyond.'