A TEENAGER has returned to her home in High Bentham armed with bronze and silver medals from the British Judo Championships.

And 16-year-old Esmeè Holgate’s achievements were made all the more impressive as her successes came in the u18 and u21 categories.

Already a member of the England squad, her performances now see her as part of the Great Britain squad.

Esmeè, who attends Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale and is currently studying for her GCSEs, has done judo for eight years under the guidance of coach Danny Harper of Craven Judo Academy.

Fighting in the u57kg category, she has been in the England judo squad and has to date won two silver medals and one bronze medal for her country.

Proud mum Cherry said: “Due to Covid she has been unable to compete for the past 18 months but has trained relentlessly through the pandemic due to having elite athlete exemption to train.

"She travels extensively on a weekly basis to access regional and national training sessions and trains five nights a week. In addition to her judo training, she also weight trains twice a week and has two sessions a week of strength and conditioning delivered by Tomi Tatham at TNT of Ingleton which is programmed by Wayne Lakin of United Strength and Conditioning in Leicester. As you can imagine this is very intensive as she still is only 16 and is in full-time education too.”

As soon as competitions were given the green light in August Esmeè entered the u18s category of The English Open in London and was thrilled to win a silver medal which ranked her second in England. She then entered the Welsh Open in Cardiff in October where she won bronze.

The biggest event in the judo world in Great Britain was the British Championships in Sheffield on December 5 and determines ranking and position which allows access to the European circuit. 

Cherry added: “She fought in the u18 category again and won all her fights including one over the previous British Champion and came away with the bronze medal. The fight was a real crowd pleaser and was a very hard fight. Having won the fight her opponent was left totally exhausted and Esmeè, in true spirit of judo, carried her off the mat to her coach. It was a really moving moment.”

Having enjoyed such success, Esmeè and her coach decided to try the following week in Sheffield to fight in the u21 category. 

She fought like a lion and won all her fights which took her to the final where, unfortunately, she lost the final but she was still elated to have won the silver medal ranking her second in Great Britain u21 and was placed onto the GB squad. And this allows her to train alongside Great Britain’s world champions and Olympians. 

Mum Cherry added: “This is a huge achievement at her age but so deserved as she is so dedicated and committed. She sacrifices so much for her love of judo which means she doesn’t do much of what most teenage girls do but to her it isn’t a sacrifice at all.”

Individuals and businesses who wish to sponsor her in her Olympic quest, should email cherry.holgate@btinternet.com