Keanu [Year 8] Crowned Junior National Judo Champion

Penrice Academy student Keanu (Year 8) enjoyed a weekend to remember after winning Junior Under 50kg Gold at the BJC Open National Championships in Kettering on Sunday.

Even more impressively, Keanu won all of his fights by Ippon; the judo equivalent of a knockout punch in boxing.

Keanu’s memorable run to title glory was very swift, with his quarter-final lasting 20 seconds, his semi-final lasting 60 seconds and his final being concluded in only 30 seconds.

Despite only being 12 years old, Keanu is already a green belt which is seen as a mid to high level rank on the journey to becoming a black belt.

Aaron Marks, Director of Sport and PE at Penrice Academy, said:

Keanu embodies all of our school values of Pride, Respect and Success. He is extremely dedicated to all the various sports that he represents the school in. He has the utmost respect for his friends, teachers and community. We are exceptionally proud of him, and wish to congratulate him on his most recent success.

Keanu currently trains with the Regional England Development Squad (REDS) and feels this has contributed towards his development at such a young age.

He explained:

“For example, in our last session with REDS we spent one hour on technique, one hour on randori [free-style practise], followed by another two hours focussed on groundwork.”

Moving forward, Keanu has already turned his focus to competing in The English Open in 2022, taking place on the weekend of 4th-5th December in Sheffield.

The upcoming competition represents a whole new challenge for Keanu with the minimum entry level required as a green belt.

Keanu finished with a message of gratitude for those who have helped him on his journey so far. He said:

“I would like to thank my dad as he covers a lot of miles in taking me to the various events. I must also mention Polkyth Judo Club who I have trained with since I was 4 ½ years old, so a big thanks to my coaches Ronan Byrne as well as Danny Byrne. Drake Judo Club in Plymouth have also been very supportive, offering extra training opportunities and my whole family in general have all been a positive influence.”