THE road to the final stage of easing Covid restrictions has been a long one – especially for close contact sports like judo.

Evade Judo in Middlewich is happy to see the return of its senior classes following 'Freedom Day', but its next challenge of enticing new and returning members to join in is just beginning.

Samantha Wilkinson, club welfare officer, said certain judo training had been allowed under guidance from the British Judo Association since April 12 – such as those training for the Olympics or those in the Regional England Development Squad.

Meanwhile, training at club level was only open for those under 18.

Evade has not been back open for long, as coach Jared Jack has been incredibly mindful of the health of others and wanted to best protect club members against the risks of Covid-19.

Now that the removal of social distancing restrictions mean all classes can get back up and running, Evade is sadly not seeing as much interest as it would have hoped.

"We've lost all these up-and-coming members to the Covid situation essentially," Samantha said, as she explained how people may be too wary to return to a close contact sport, or may have lost interest throughout the various lockdowns.

"And it's not just our club, it's all clubs."

At the last count, Evade had nine juniors attending – pre-Covid, this number was 21.

"We thought people would have the mindset of wanting to get back to it," she added, as she stressed how classes are made as safe and Covid-secure as possible.

"We have hand gel and people who are spectating have masks on.

"We won't be changing that (after July 19).

"As so many people have said, we need to learn to live with it now but still be safe.

"The mats get cleaned before and after every session."

The focus post 'Freedom Day' for Evade is to get people back interested in the sport.

"As a member of the British Judo Association, we have always seen surges in new membership every four years," Samantha said.

"So, we're still hoping that some people will see judo on the Olympics and want to give it a try."

Evade Judo in Middlewich is welcome to returning judoka and new starters.

Classes are on Tuesdays at Middlewich United Reformed Church.

Class times:

  • 6-7pm: Five to seven-year-olds
  • 7-8pm: Eight to 14-year olds
  • 8-9pm: 15-year-olds and over