Head Coach at Clyde Judo Club, JudoScotland Board Member, Competition Controller and Birmingham 2022 Volunteer, Susan Wright has experienced nearly every role within the sport. A true inspiration within the sport, we caught up with Susan, to hear about her journey in Judo and sport for Scottish Women in Sport Week.

“Judo has literally given me focus for my life, I grew up with a lot of challenges in my home life and found judo at the age of 16. I originally joined a local club and it immediately felt like I belonged somewhere for the first time in my life. I am not quite sure what my life would have become without it, but I don’t think it would have been good.”

“I have now been involved in judo for 40 years and as with all things I’ve had a mixture of experiences as a woman in sport, at my club there were very few women and some days I was the only female on the mat.  I just had to be one of the boys.”

“I first got involved in the coaching aspect of judo after I took a break and had my Son, I didn’t do judo for about 5 years after and only when I was taking him along was I enticed back on the mat to help out. I then kind of followed him up the pathway, I was asked to go on the mat at the national talent development session in the west by Gary (Edwards) who was looking for a female to help at sessions and also to travel with the squad as there were not many who could commit the time.”

“I went abroad to Venray with Gary and the pre-cadet/cadet squad for the first time, and he encouraged me to take my own players away on trips to help their development and helped me to book things and told me where to go and what to do.”

“Eventually I started my own club (Clyde Judo Club) as my confidence in my abilities grew and I took players on several trips as a club coach and as a support coach.”

“I started to help at competitions as a table official not long after my son started competing at the age of 8 or 9 and Tam Brown encouraged me to go up the ladder for that and get my recorder, senior recorder and competition controller awards, I began running events for my club and then for JudoScotland.”

“I have some amazing memories and experiences that have stayed with me; the first time one of my players won the British Nationals, the first time one was selected to go abroad to compete. Being part of the gold-winning women’s team at the national team event, winning the world masters and being involved in 2 commonwealth games, one as an official at Glasgow 2014 and being part of the workforce making it happen in Birmingham are all memories that will stay with me.”

“It is so important to have visible representation for women in sport because young women and girls need that role model and need to see what a huge variety of roles there are in sport and how they could find something that fits with them and their personality, it helps so much with self-confidence and belief to have more women in the forefront to show the way.”

“I have been involved in almost every aspect of Judo and feel passionately about the sport and what I believe it can bring to young people’s lives and their outlook and prospects, not just for girls, but we lose so many in their teenage years for various reasons that we have less time to make an impact on them to make a difference in their lives.”

“Judo is so much more than a sport for me it’s a family.”