No pain, no gain for young Judo prodigy
STRANGULATION and socket-wrenching pain are almost a daily occurrence for Jean-Rene Badrick. Fortunately, the 17-year-old Hampstead School pupil only endures such physical abuse in the name of his beloved sport, judo. Badrick is one of the top competitors
STRANGULATION and socket-wrenching pain are almost a daily occurrence for Jean-Rene Badrick.
Fortunately, the 17-year-old Hampstead School pupil only endures such physical abuse in the name of his beloved sport, judo.
Badrick is one of the top competitors in the country in the under-66kg category, having gathered a hoard of medals and trophies to date.
In January, he claimed silver in the British Open Senior Championships at the K2 centre in Crawley and the month before that he won gold at both the British Junior and Senior Closed Championships in Sheffield.
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As a consequence of his good form, he has been picked for the Senior European Championships which will be held in Serbia next month.
"I started when I was seven years old and it's snowballed ever since," he says. "When I started out I just wanted to defend myself - all boys do at that sort of age - you just want to learn to fight.
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"At first I was entering little fights, Christmas competitions, that sort of thing.
"As I've got older I've won bigger tournaments like the under-17 European Championship in Austria and bronze at the Youth Olympics in Italy, both in 2005."
When standing face to face with Badrick - an affable yet burly teenager - it's no surprise that he thrives on the physical side to his sport.
"I had a look at all the other martial arts when I was younger, but this one was the most extreme," he says.
"You score by throwing your opponent clean onto their back, holding them down for 25 seconds, or forcing them to tap out [submit] from a stranglehold or an arm-lock.
"When you're on the receiving end it can be agony.
"I tend to think it's better to tap out than to try and wait for the referee to step in because you don't want to get injured for the rest of the contest.
"The stranglehold is pretty brutal. The best way is to use your opponent's judo suit and wrap it around them or use your own forearm."
Badrick hones his skills during five training sessions a week at Willesden Judo Club, and he is increasingly kept busy by foreign competitions.
He admits to being an aggressive competitor - "There's no love lost on the mat," he says - but that's a necessary outlook if he is to fulfil his long-term ambitions.
"I want to go to the Olympics because that's as high as you can get in judo," he said
"London 2012 would be amazing, that's what I'm aiming towards.
"But you never know, it may work out for me for 2008.