A schoolgirl martial artist from Newtongrange has returned from the UK School Games in London with a gold medal.
Held in London, the multi-sport event attracted some of the UK’s most elite young athletes to the new Olympic Park complex.
Eilish Walker (16), of Ninth Street, defeated five opponents on her road to judo glory in the under-57k weight category.
The teenager took up judo at the age of eight after a club demonstration at school left her suitably impressed. Joining the Just-judo organisation, which represents a network of clubs based throughout Edinburgh and Midlothian, she went on to discover a love for the sport and continues to hone her skills through regular training in Lasswade, Ratho and Edinburgh.
Winding down at home after sitting her final school exam last week, the S4 pupil at Dalkeith’s St David’s High told the Advertiser: “I’d recommend judo for anyone.
“The training is a great way of keeping fit and I’ve made a lot of new friends.
“I’ve also travelled throughout the UK, and have been to European competitions in Poland, Malta and Portugal. I tried karate once but didn’t really enjoy it.”
Currently a member of the British Judo European Cadette Team, the brown belt’s immediate goal is to win a medal at the European Cadette Championships in Montenegro later this month. She will then focus on achieving her black belt before progressing onto the British Judo Junior Team. Her ultimate goal is to represent her country at the Olympic Games.
A modern martial art and combat sport, judo’s most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the object is for a practitioner to either throw, takedown, immobilize or subdue their opponent with a grappling manoeuvre, or force their opponent to submit by joint locking or by executing a strangle hold or choke.
While extremely confident on the mats, Eilish admits that she reverts back to being a shy girl as soon as her Gi (uniform) comes off.
Travelling Europe and buying new kit for overseas competitions can be an expensive business, and Eilish would like to thank the SportsAid charity for awarded her a £1000 grant.