JudoScotland are hoping the programme encourages girls to participate in sport ©JudoScotland

JudoScotland have launched the country’s first girls-only judo programme following their success at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, which they hope will encourage more females to take up the sport.

Sally Conway, who contributed a bronze to Scotland’s judo haul of six gold, two silvers and five bronze medals at Glasgow 2014, officially started the project by hosting a session with a group of young girls from the pilot club GSB Judo.

The programme is due to be based in the west of Scotland and will aim to target young females, with the group having been identified as a having a high risk of inactivity.

Research shows only 41 per cent of girls aged between 13 and 15 partake in one hour’s physical activity a day.

JudoScotland are hoping that the 20 week initiative, which is being supported by Active East, Youth Scotland and Scottish Sports Futures, will feed off the legacy of last year’s Commonwealth Games and help boost the number of girls taking part in the sport.

“It is important to utilise the opportunities bestowed to us following the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games,” said Dougi Bryce, chief executive at JudoScotland.

“Projects such as the West of Scotland Girls programme is just one way JudoScotland can harness that Legacy and implement real change.”

The sessions included in the initiative, which has been developed from an award winning pilot scheme, will focus on physical movement similar to dance and will aim to introduce judo gradually to the participants.

Sally Conway won bronze in the women's under 70 kilogram division at Glasgow 2014
Sally Conway won bronze in the women's under 70 kilogram division at Glasgow 2014 ©Getty Images

Other issues ranging from internet safety to healthy cooking will also be tackled as part of the scheme.

The project, which has been joint funded by the Scottish Government and the charity Comic Relief, has received the backing of Scottish Sport Futures’ development manager Emma Reid who believes it will play a key role in getting more young girls to join in or remain within sport.

“Scottish Sport Futures are delighted to be involved in this unique collaboration and look forward to learning and sharing best practice around engaging and retaining female participants,” she said.

“JudoScotland have embraced the opportunity to widen access to the sport and allowing young people to take the lead will build a solid foundation for the future.

“Scottish Government and Comic Relief recognise the potential for sport to positively impact a young person’s development and we welcome their support."

Related stories
December 2014:
 Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallists awarded MBEs in Queen's New Year's Honours list
July 2014: Golden return for Burton as Scotland dominant final day of judo
July 2014: Clark wins third Scottish judo gold on night of English domination