It is with both sadness and gratitude we announce that Darren Warner will be resigning as the Chief Executive Officer of the Welsh Judo Association. Following 8 successful years in post, Darren will be moving on to his next challenge in September.

Over the last eight years, Darren has overseen significant growth in the organisation, increasing the number of staff from two to seven; matched by a growth in judo participation and record attendances at Welsh Open competitive events. There have been notable achievements on the mat too, with Natalie Powell becoming a two time Olympian and first Welsh world medalist.

Prior to joining Welsh Judo, Darren was Head Coach of Coventry judo club, starting the journey of future stars Sam Ingram and Chelsie Giles.; before becoming a Great Britain Performance Coach. In this role, Darren was involved in the Beijing and London Olympic Games, working with Olympians’ such as Gemma Gibbons, Peter Cousins, Kelly Edwards and current European Champion, Gemma Howell.

Darren said, “It has been a privilege to lead Welsh Judo over the last two Commonwealth cycles. Eight years is a long time and as we work on the new strategic plan for the next four years, it feels like the right time for me to hand the baton to someone else. Welsh Judo is a fantastic place to work.  I’d like to thank the staff for consistently going above and beyond to build judo in Wales, and to the board of directors who have supported me through thick and thin. I look forward to continuing to offer my support to Welsh Judo in my new role as judo parent!”

Marc Longhurst, Welsh Judo Chair, commented;

“Darren’s departure will certainly leave a void in Welsh Judo following his 8 years in post as our CEO.  During his time with Welsh Judo, Darren has provided clear leadership and established a culture that truly resonates with the core values of Judo.    Working closely with the team and athletes he has achieved success at all levels with multiple representations at the Cadet European championships, record attendance at the youth Olympics, multiple Commonwealth medallists and our first ever female Olympian and world number 1 ranking.  This success makes it a difficult departure but I am pleased that Darren will be pursuing the next chapter of his career in academia.  This has been a growing temptation for Darren for some time and I sincerely wish him well.  I am also looking forward to seeing Darren at our future events as a supporter and Judo parent! 

Looking ahead, this creates an opportunity for us to bring new leadership in to Welsh Judo and spearhead the implementation of our 2023 – 2026 strategy being launched in September.  The recruitment process is now underway and we are looking forward to seeing the range of applicants with a view to appointing late June.  This will provide sufficient time for transition and ensure the team continue to operate and support our Judo community without disruption.  Working with the Board we will run a rigorous process to select the best candidate with ambitions aligned to our strategy and goals for Welsh Judo.  More to following on this in coming months but for now I would like to say a big thank you to Darren for his commitment to Welsh Judo. Diolch yn fawr iawn Darren.”

We wish Darren all the best as looks ahead to his next chapter and want to express our deepest thanks for his commitment over the past 8 years.

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