This month saw Maesteg Judokwai celebrate its 40th year.

It was March 1983 when Maesteg Sports Centre opened. That same year saw Kerry Pulvirenti and his wife Julie approached by the management at the time looking to open a judo club at the centre. It was in that moment that Maesteg Judokwai was born.

The club has always been a family run club, originally with Kerry and his wife Julie, then over the years both Kerry’s daughters Danielle and Jordanne have taken a major role in the club. Both Kerry’s granddaughters Emielia & Isabelle do judo as well as his nephews Sebastian and Ameilio and also most recently his great nephew, 4 year old Harri.

The club went from strength the strength, having more than 100 members, when they decided to become a member of the Welsh Judo Association. Once their membership was completed, the club and its members started entering competitions, local and over the bridge. Many of the members gained positions at County and Welsh level.

Along the way, hundreds of members have gained places in the Welsh National Squad, where at one time Kerry has been the coach and manager and still to this day lends his knowledge and support to the Squad. Kerry’s granddaughter Emielia John is currently a member of the Welsh Squad, along with a further 9 club members.

Over the years many of our members have gone represent Wales, Great Britain, the Commonwealth and in the Paralympic Games. For example, both is daughters Danielle & Jordanne, Kelly-Anne Downey, Sarah Payne, Jamie Macdonald and of course Kerry. In 2006 Kerry came out of retirement and competed in the Commonwealth Tournament, held in Ireland, where he took a bronze.

As a club we have seen some amazing times and some sad times, with our saddest time when we lost our long-time member Jamie Macdonald in 2017. Jamie was an extraordinary judo player and even when he moved from Maesteg and trained at an Olympic level, he never forgot his home club and visited when he could. Jamie will always be a big part of the club and its history.

2022 was one of those amazing times when we had the pleasure of seeing Jasmine Hacker-Jones become 2022 Commonwealth Bronze medallist. This was a very special time for Kerry and the club as Jasmine first came to the club as a 4 year old!

Kerry has now been doing judo for over 65 years in September, and he still shows no signs of slowing down. Maesteg Judokwai and its members are his life. He lives and breaths judo and for anyone who knows him, whilst he can still do judo himself, the club will still run.

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