Aiming for the Olympics – Asia Tour Part 1

By Sophie Cox

We’ve just completed the first week of the four-week-long Asia tour, so time for a quick recap. The women’s team have been training at the National Training Centre where for the last 5 days their top women plus about 300 other judoka from various university teams have been training as well. Talk about throwing us in the deep end with a bunch of small but very nippy piranhas all trying to take chunks out of ya! And it has been very intense, each session 2 1/2 to 3 hours long, 95% randori (the other 5% warming up or cooling down).  Everything is sore now; skin, fingers, toes and muscles, joints; thankfully we have a couple of days off now whilst we move across Tokyo and station ourselves at the next training centre. Team physio Sophia has been doing a great job helping us keep on top of any grumbles and general maintenance.  My left shoulder and elbow have started to niggle a bit and I have to keep on top of that plus some chronic wear and tear in my right elbow. I’ve done 3 gym sessions this week involving speed, power and core training but mostly focused on specific rehab/prehab. Recovery between sessions has been key but difficult as by the time you’ve stretched, showered and eaten you’re generally ready to crash out. The food has been excellent (for those of us who like our food and are not picky anyway, not like coach Howey!) and most of our meals have been at the NTC where we eat in the Athletes section along with the other sports such as weightlifting, table tennis, wrestling and gymnastics. The hotel room also comes equipped with its own water boiler and fridge so it’s easy to store drinks and snack and I’ve been drinking so much green tea it’s coming out of my ears! Think of those anti-oxidants though….


  • Strangling 2 people and arm locking 1 and holding down 8 in one newaza session (bearing in mind the previous one my total ippons were nill: they’re hard to catch on the ground!)
  • Green tea hot chocolate.
  • Green tea ice cream.
  • Green tea and strawberry kit kat chunkys.
  • Green tea McVites digestives.
  • Hot coffee out of the vending machine.
  • Getting to use the amazing facilities at the NTC.
  • Catching up on some TV series, How I Met Your Mother and Homeland.
  • General banter with the team.
  • Coin washers and dryers in the hotel.
  • The the small but lovely deep bath tub in the room where I can wind down.
  • The food.
  • Last nights feast at Sizzlers.


  • Shin bruises; the Arnica cream has come in handy!
  • The rain; had to purchase an umbrella.
  • Taping – fingers and a thumb. It’s just hard work getting it all off again!
  • Blood on my kit from a cut/graze under my chin where people have been trying to strangle me! Now having to soak the jacket in the sink to try and get it out.
  • Soreness.
  • Jet lag – they say it takes a day for every hour of time difference to get yourself fully into sync. We didn’t have time to mess around though so have had to cope and some people have been struggling with their sleeping patterns. I’ve struggled a little bit but getting enough to keep the engine running.

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