Happy New Year! I’m sure 2024 going to be a great one for Scottish judo.

On 14th January, we had a Board Training Day where we discussed communication and effectiveness, teamwork, culture and our Code of Conduct. The session was facilitated by Michael Cavanagh OBE. It was an excellent, informative and uplifting day, and nice to catch up with Michael (someone I’ve been on the mat with many years ago at the Newhaven Club in Edinburgh.)

On a personal note, on 20th January, I had another reunion – this time with judoka from my old judo school, the Kendal Judo Centre. Just looking around the company, I was struck by how many highly successful judoka were there. Too many to name but a fabulous night and lots of happy memories were shared.
During the same weekend, we had the Scottish Open.

It was an excellent event with over 620 competitors and 5 mats over the 2 days at the weekend. The feedback I have had since has been tremendous and I would like to thank the entire team for all of the hard work – often unseen – that goes on in the background to plan and run such a big event.

The event had a camp afterwards and it was great to host some of our international visitors for an extended period for some high-quality training.
At this point, I’d like to thank Robert Sneddon, whose company RA Sneddon Ltd sponsored the camp. Robert was on the JudoScotland Board for around 15 years and is a very valued member of the judo community. Thank you, Robert.

And some sad news. Many of you will know Andy McKenna 3rd Dan of East Kilbride Judo Club who sadly passed away in January. In 2021 both Andy and his wife Margaret received Lifetime Achievement Awards from JudoScotland. Andy and Margaret have had clubs over the years in Strathaven and Stonehouse delivering the benefits of our sport of judo to many hundreds of young people around the area. Andy’s legacy will endure through the generations of judoka whose lives he touched and will remain in our sport for many years to come. Our condolences go to his wife Margaret, a successful judo competitor – a sad loss.

Finally, we ended January with an online Board meeting. We’ve introduced updated technology which now allows us to run ‘virtual’ sessions – something that proved very helpful to our more far-flung Board members, given the great Scottish weather we’re having at the moment.

Here’s to some sunshine – and fewer storms – onwards!

Marc Preston

6th Dan