NATIONAL FIRST: School leads from the front in Judo
JUDO: The Bundaberg State High School is creating history when it comes to the sport of judo.
The school is the first and only one in the country to run judo as part of learning for students, the brainchild of teacher Garry Collins.
"Plenty do it outside (of school hours), but we are the only ones from the Judo Federation that actually runs it as part of the curriculum,” he said. "In the whole of Australia, we are the only school that is doing it inside school time.”
The program is yielding results as well after recent success at three events.
Marcus James and Owen Lammonde both won medals at a tournament held by the Isshindokan Judo Club.
Lammonde won gold in the senior boys competition in the over 65kg weight class, with James finishing second in the over 60kg class and same age division.
Both then competed against each other in the cadets class, with James beating Lammonde before claiming bronze.
"It was pretty fun against each other,” Lammonde said.
"We know each other a lot so it's pretty hard because we know exactly what we are going to do. It's hard to counter and get one on the ground and pin them.”
James said both had to think outside of the box, which he was able to do.
The 15-year-old then competed at another tournament with fellow Bundaberg State High School student Kai O'Brien.
Both competed at the Shogun Hill event, in open, which had some of the best judo competitors in the state compete for spots at the state titles.
The students were outclassed but won medals.
"It's a very hard competition against very skilled players who have been doing this for years,” James said.
"I lost all my fights, it was a good learning experience, really fun.”
Despite getting smashed both retained their hunger to compete.
"I learnt moves and met some people that helped me along the way,” O'Brien said.
"It does give me confidence, it was my first competition as I've only been doing it for a year.”
Their teacher admitted both were thrown in the deep end but handled the occasion.
"The boys took on some of the state's best, took some medals and impressed,” Collins said.
"The boys actually gave the Brisbane guys quite a scare.”
The boys were joined in the medals by Imogen Skenderis, who finished third at the Gin Gin Invitational Event.
She was joined by Erin Skenderis who finished fourth in cadets division and Matthew Simmons who was fourth as well in the junior division.
"We were all lined up against the wall and then the teachers pulled out pairs to fight each other,” she said.
"We all had three fights and if you won one fight then you got third.
"I won one fight, I've been only doing this for a month or two.”
The students will now continue to train and prepare themselves for future events later this year.