February 7 - British Judo Association (BJA) President George Kerr has been awarded the 10th Dan – making him only the seventh 10th Dan in the world and the fifth non-Japanese judoka ever to receive the honour.

Kerr, a 72-year-old from Edinburgh, was presented with the honour in front of 14,000 judo fans at the Bercy Stadium in Paris, which is this weekend staging the prestigious Paris Grand Slam.
He said: "I am completely humbled to receive my 10th Dan and slightly overwhelmed by the whole thing.

"The moral code in judo is underpinned by honour and to have your peers and the sport honouring me with this is an amazing experience and is hard to get my head around. In the next 20 or 30 years they may only be another one or two others so I feel incredibly proud."

It is the Scots second honour in as many months. 

Last month he was recognised by the Japanese Government for promoting understanding and friendship between Japan and the UK.  

He was awarded the Certificate of Commendation by the Japanese Government at a ceremony in the Japanese Consulate.
Kerr is only the second British person ever to receive a judo 10th Dan, the first being Charles Palmer, the former chairman of the British Olympic Association (BOA) who died in 2001. 

Palmer was the first non-Japanese President of the International Judo Federation.
The 10th Dan awarded to Kerr has recognised an illustrious judo career which has seen him reach the highest level as a coach, player, referee and administrator.
As a player he won the 1957 European Championships in Rotterdam before finishing runner up three times and with the bronze medal twice.

He was a two-time winner of the British Open Championship both in 1966 and 1968.
Following his retirement as a judoka, Kerr built his reputation as a world class coach.

As national coach to Austrian team he coached Peter Seisenbracher to win Olympic gold medals in 1984 and 1988 - the only Briton to ever coach an Olympic gold medallist.
As a referee he was the only British person to have ever refereed an Olympic final, something he did twice in Munich and Montreal.

From 1991-1997 Kerr was chairman of the BJA, and then vice president until Palmer’s death in 2001 when he became President, a post he still holds today.
He was awarded an International Judo Federation Gold Medal in 2003 as recognition of his dedication to judo and was an inaugural member of the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.
Kerr, who ran The Edinburgh Club for 40 years, still takes time to teach youngsters coming into the sport at his centre, Junior Judo in Edinburgh.

He said: "As throughout my career, I continue to teach the traditional Japanese judo values of honour, discipline, politeness."
Densign White, the BJA chairman, said: "I am more than delighted and proud.

"This is a fantastic honour for George and British Judo. 

"He has had an amazing career as a coach, referee, player and administrator. 

"Today he continues to be an ambassador for Britain and judo around the world.

"He is influential at the very highest level whilst still making time to teach judo to those starting the sport, which is incredible".