There's no stopping these judo girls

December 22 2017

MEET the Whitfields. The judo-crazy sisters might only be primary school age but they are already proving a force to reckon with.

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MEET the Whitfields. The judo-crazy sisters might only be primary school age but they are already proving a force to reckon with.

Charlie, 11, and Ashlie, eight, have just returned from the IRJT Championships in Holland where they both returned with medals.

The girls, who are both pupils at Begbrook Primary Academy, were given the chance to compete in a new state-of-the-art stadium in the The Hague called Sportcampus Zuider Park and rose magnificently to the occasion.

This was the third time Charlie had fought in the competition. In her first year she came fourth, in her second she took silver but this year managed to bag a gold medal after winning all her five fights.

Despite being Ashlie's first international and having to fight older and more experienced girls, she lost two fights but won her third fight, taking a bronze medal.

Because of their ages, Charlie, a orange belt, and Ashlie, a red belt, both fought higher grade green belt competitors, making their wins even more impressive.

Dad Gavin, a black belt who coaches his daughters at Bradley Stoke Judo Club, said: "This was Ashlie's first international and she went in as an underdog fighting older, experienced and much higher grade girls. We weren't even expecting her to win a fight; it was more about going there to help her confidence and give her the experience of going from watching her sister to being on the mat fighting herself.

"It's a big step in the judo world going from local judo fighting to fighting internationally so given all that, Ashlie fought really well. The fight that she won, she won well, throwing her opponent through the air."

Gavin said Charlie had already had the experience of fighting internationally so her confidence has grown.

"She took silver last year and wanted gold but the group was bigger this year and she knew it wasn't going to be easy. She wasn't favourite to win but she dominated every fight throughout and was the clear winner in all of her fights.

"She was on form and demonstrated a range of techniques, not just one of two. I'm very proud of her and it's nice she's ended her 2017 competitions with a gold."

Gavin said the girls come from a judo-crazy family including mum Gemma, who met Gavin through judo, although she no longer practices.

"We revolve around judo, even when we're not at the club," said Gavin.

"Nothing stops at home and every day judo will get talked about."