Judo club celebrates 50th anniversary

The Whyalla Judo Club celebrated 50 years of operations last weekend.

The WJC was started in 1967 under the banner of the YMCA and has gone from strength to strength producing many national champions and has been active in international, national, and state competitions.

The history of the Whyalla Judo Club has been well documented and this information with photos of the past 50 years was comprised into a book which sold out fast on the day, it captured the various stages of the club, the growing members and included the current six black belt instructors who share the coaching.

The day started with Whyalla Judo club holding a randori session for the juniors and then kicked off the fun with activities such as a sausage sizzle, jumpy castles, face painting, sumo suit and bubble soccer which was enjoyed by Whyalla Judo Club members and community who came to help make this day a special one.

There were a few surprises for two members on the day with George Vlachoulis being presented his Sho Dan Black belt certificate by Rokudan Michael Headland, and GoDan David Macdonald was awarded his old Gi and Obi beautify framed for his many years of distinction and honour to the Whyalla Judo Club.

David was awarded the Obi by the Multiple World Champion Isao Okano of whom David studied under.

Judo SA Board member - Meera Verma Headland read out a message from the JudoSA President Steve McEwen congratulating the club on its long-standing achievements.

The festivities continued with a dinner that night where Joan Andrews, the wife of founder member Doug Andrews, was presented with flowers and honoured the club by cutting the Judogi cake.

Doug Andrews was one of the original founder members back in 1967, Doug started Judo in England and was David Macdonald’s Coach in England.

Doug came out to Whyalla and was followed by David in 1967.  

Seven life memberships were presented at the dinner, a first also for the club having such a large group in one year.

The long standing members to achieve the prestigious award were: Kieran Turnbull Snr, Paul Pacini, Allyson Noble, Mark Asperti, Tony Noonan, Michele Cholodniuk and Kieran Turnbull Jnr.

Keith Butler a previous long-standing member and Life Member also attended from Queensland.

Apologies were given by Richard and Elizabeth Versteegh who could not attend but were honoured for their past service.

Overall it was a fantastic week end where old and new members could catch up and exchange memories.

Judo is an Olympic sport and an excellent way to keep fit and learn self-defence.

The Whyalla Judo Club trains every Tuesday and Thursday nights at the Jubilee park club rooms - 6.00pm - 8.00pm for juniors and 7.30pm-9.00pm for seniors. New members are welcome.