Judo_throw_2October 26 - British Judo is going through a boom phase with the number of juniors and adults taking up the sport soaring by around 10 per cent in a year.

Almost half of clubs have increased their junior membership and 42 per cent have recorded a boom in 16+ participants.

The figures, published by the sport's national governing body the British Judo Association (BJA) for the year to September 2010, are being put down to a number of initiatives made possible thanks to the association's Sport England Whole Sport Plan.

It hopes to further build those exposed to the sport in this age group through the recently introduced Judo Fit, a new fitness class to music which can be performed by people of all ages and fitness levels.

The initiative aims to encourage a wider audience into the sport.

Additionally, clubs have been supported through personalised marketing resources and a regional news service that have enabled them to promote themselves in their local communities.

The BJA's chief executive officer Scott McCarthy said: "The indications are very positive that we are improving both the number of those entering the sport as well as our retention rates.

"We have built a system to support engagement and interactivity through our club as well as schools with the support of Sport England.

"We very much look forward to that system delivering improved growth figures for the foreseeable future."

Schools currently host judo through the BJA's Enjoy Judo programme which sees coaches deliver tailored classes through breakfast clubs, curricular activity, lunch time and after school classes.

They also work in conjunction with British Judo's School 2 Dojo programme which is supported by Sport England.

The programme establishes strong ties between schools and a local judo club which provides an outlet for pupils, who have been equipped with the fundamentals, to practise the sport to a higher level.

The programme has 600 schools linked with neighbouring judo clubs.

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