Talented judoka Hannah Niven has earned her black belt at the age of just 15 to become the youngest person from her club to ever achieve this top status.
It came as part of another extremely busy and successful weekend for Hannah’s Berkhamsted-based Rush Judo club, which had a total of 46 of their members competing over the course of the weekend.
The club said the success was a testament to the success of the Rush Judo coaches who “tirelessly give their time training children and adults over nine sessions, four nights a week and have been doing so for almost eight years”.
The club’s more experienced fighters were at the Southern Area Open, which was littered with England squad members.
The event was held at the K2 Centre, in Crawley, and the Rush Judo squad of 18 judoka returned with a flurry of medals.
The winners were as follows:
Gold: Keiran Docherty, Nicole Wood, Lewis Fryer, Emily Niven, Paddy Lish, Ben Hasler and Evie Halvey Jacobs.
Silver: Hannah Niven (in the Cadets category as well as in the Juniors section), Gergo Berendi, Travis Hayes, Ollie O’Connell and Elise Wood.
Bronze: Rhys Connor, Bethany Wood, Darcy O’Connell and Jemima Cadge.
Star of the weekend was undoubtedly 15-year-old Hannah who, despite competing against strong groups, fought as a Cadet (U18) as well as a Junior (U21) to earn silver medals in both.
It meant she picked up enough valuable points to earn her black belt.
Hannah is the youngest judoka to become a black belt at Rush Judo, the club confirmed.
Hannah is in her second year in the England squad and is used to being on the podium at international and domestic competitions.
Notable achievements in the past few months include being selected to represent England at the prestigious 2017 School Games where she was crowned champion and winning a hard-earned silver medal at the British Nationals event in a closely-fought final in December.
It was an emotional moment for coach Laurie Rush, who said: “Titles and medal are temporary but a black belt is forever. It was such a proud moment.”
Rush’s younger squad were in action at the Chalfont Championship where the large squad supported each other throughout the long day with some of the youngsters competing in their first competition.
Gold: Maggie Rumsby Ferris, Medhi Rabia, Sophie Rush, Estelle Holian, Jessica Rush, Jordan Hayes and Keiran Docherty.
Silver: Logan Mcadam, Marcus Rush, Matthew Morley, Nia Jenkins, Sam Morley, Suri Dix, Travis Hayes, Zacky Fekete, Alec Holian, Alfie Cheek, Arthur Size, Elliot Cathcart, Jack Nash and Jemima Cadge.
Bronze: Annis Rabia, Daniel Rush, Erin Docherty, Jim Collins, Leo Rumsby Ferris, Oliver Mole and Tegwin Jenkins.
Rush Judo is a family-run club that aims to create champions while having lots of fun. They train at their permanent dojo at Ashlyns School, Berkhamsted. For more details, call 07949 609 569.