Starting today, Tuesday January, 29, the martial art and sport of Judo will return to the Seven Towers Leisure Centre, Ballymena.
The sport has been receiving a lot of interest recently as the 2020 Olympics will be featuring Judo as a main sport with Japan (the spiritual home of Judo) hosting the games.
Mark Harris, a former Ballymena resident, saw the opportunity to get a club started and bring more people into Judo.
Mark said: “The beauty of Judo is, not only does it build strength, confidence and the opportunity to make new friends, it has a strong moral path which is perfect for kids and adults alike.
“Judo helped me a lot in my younger years to find a physical outlet, so I wanted to bring this back into the area I am from and get as many people as I can into the sport, as well as offering the chance to focus on grading through the belts and having the chance to compete across Northern Ireland and then potentially the world.
“Ballymena has a big population and who knows, our next Olympian may be from there!”
The initiative has come to fruition with the help of the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and Katrina McCaughan who is the Sports Development Officer for the area.
Katrina added: “Council has been working with Judo NI over the past few months to address a gap in provision and we’re really excited to see a Judo club coming back to Ballymena.
“We want more people to be more active, more often and what better way to do that than help offer new sports for people to get involved in. We are committed to developing sports in this borough and hope to continue to develop relationships, like this one with Judo NI, across Mid and East Antrim.”
Classes start on the 29th January on a Tuesday and Thursday evening for ages 5 years up and all you need is an old tracksuit to get started. The first class is free, and you can find out more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org