University of Wolverhampton Sports Coaching student, Jack Hodgson, added a recent bronze medal win to a growing list of accolades when he took part in the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) European Judo Championships in Portugal recently.
Jack, 19 from Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, is a Commonwealth gold medallist in Judo who has Ushers Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that can lead to deaf-blindness. Based at the University’s Walsall Sports Centre, one of the few Judo Centres of Excellence in the UK as recognised by the British Judo Association, Jack started playing the sport when he was 6.
Jack said: “I was brought up on an RAF base in Northern Ireland and there wasn’t much choice for things to do – it was either ballet or Judo. I’m not sure I would have been much good at ballet, so I chose Judo. After mastering the art and then starting to play competitively I’m now really passionate about the sport and have played at county level and for my country.
“Having Ushers Syndrome means that I am profoundly deaf and have a degenerative eye condition – I currently have only five degrees of central vision and no peripheral vision at all which, as you can imagine, is a bit of a challenge when it comes to Judo. I also have to remove my hearing aids when I’m training as they get in the way – of course with them removed I hear nothing!
“The Sports Coaching course at the University was ideal for me as it meant that I could continue to play Judo competitively as well as studying for a degree. My goal is to reach the Paralympics at Rio in 2016 but in the meantime, I’m concentrating on continuing to improve my medal hopes at the Brazilian Grand Prix which is my next big competition.”
Kay Biscomb, Director of the Institute of Sport at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “Jack is in his first year and is finding that his degree course is really complementing his competition activities, allowing him to continue to perfect his Judo practice. We’re all really proud that he’s managed to secure another bronze medal to add to his growing list and I am sure that his determination to succeed will go a long way to helping him in his endeavours to compete in Rio next year.”
Anyone interested in studying at the University can check out the range of courses on the website: www.wlv.ac.uk or visit us at our next Open Event on Saturday 6th February 2016.