To celebrate Volunteers’ Week we’re saying a huge thank you to our Welsh Judo volunteers. Here, Wendy Allen of O'oshimeyo Judo Club shares her judo and refereeing journey…

How did you get into judo?

I started aged 4 so over 47yrs ago (1975) It was a club for boys in Cardiff that my brother attended. The coach thought that I was the little brother.

When and how did you get into refereeing/ officiating?

I got into refereeing when my oldest child (now 29) started Judo aged 5. By the time he was 6 in 1999 I had reached National C level.

What motivates you as a referee/ official?

I am no longer able to compete. Therefore, being a referee enables me to still participate in competitions without to much risk of injury (well that’s the plan) although I have had a few close shaves! I am also able to give back something to the sport that has been a part of nearly my whole life (in less than 3yrs it will be half a century)

What has been your favourite judo memory?

I have lots of these!! But I will keep these suitable for family viewing only!! 2 as a player, the 1st  was my coach at age 9 was Alan Petherbridge he always got me mixed up with my brother also W Alien!! Whenever we did a grading I’d always have to fight the boys because he’d think I was Wayne. Worse thing was nearly every time I’d have to go against this lad called Kevin but he was in my class at school. This always caused problems on a Monday after said grading!!

The 2nd story as a young judo player, I must have been about 14 yrs old and we were away with the Welsh team in those days we didn’t always have hotel rooms and beds we slept in sleeping bags on judo mats in dojos, or above shopping centres!! On 1 of these such excursions a very well known junior coach was fast asleep on a gym bench when all you heard was bang/crack his front teeth came out and we spent the next 20mins in the dark trying to find where his teeth had gone!! (This was in the mid 80s)

As a referee 1 memorable event has to be the 1st Open Adaptive held in Cardiff!! One of the Adaptive players got very excited when hajime was called and he almost took hold of me to throw me ordinarily this wouldn’t bother me but the player was around 6ft 7 and I’m only 5ft 4!! And another referee memorable moment has to be the European Masters in Glasgow. Now as I said I’m not the biggest of referees so trying to measure the Gi of the German heavy weight player was a challenge!! He was 6ft 9 and he even made my daughter who is 6ft look little! Needless to say I needed a chair and everyone laughed!! (All in fun of course) on a brighter note at least I didn’t need a microphone to call out the next contest apparently I have a voice like a fog horn!! I just blame it on being Welsh!!

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to get into refereeing / officiating?

Just go for it. If your unsure just approach any referee or official at any competition and I’m sure they’d be more than willing to point you in the right direction. Failing that, come see me and I’ll help you out!

A big thank you to Wendy for all she brings to our Welsh Judo community, and to our countless volunteers for all your hard work.

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