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Ghana's first judo Olympian visits Kingsley School camp

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: August 16, 2012

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A GROUNDBREAKING Olympian was in Bideford on Tuesday to pass on his knowledge to young judo enthusiasts.

Emmanuel Nartey made history two weeks ago when he became the first Ghanaian to compete at judo in the Olympic Games.

Having trained with the Great Britain team at the University of Bath, Nartey was happy to help out at the week-long camp hosted by Kingsley School.

Ghana is a football-obsessed country but he has raised the profile of his sport.

Competing in the 73kg class, Nartey was beaten by twice world silver-medallist Dex Elmont, of Holland, in the second round.

"The tournament didn't go as well as I wanted but, at the end of the day, I went to the Olympic Games," said Nartey. "The journey and the experience is the most important thing."

Nartey, 29, first tried judo at the age of 9 and moved to the UK ten years ago, joining the Army.

"I got into judo with my older brothers back home in Ghana," he said. "I used to play football but it interfered with my academic studies.

"I'll try my best to see if I can open the door for the government in Ghana to invest in judo and some of the lesser-known sports.

"All the money has always been invested in football.

"Judo is a sport that helps people be disciplined. Everyone is well behaved.

"If you're able to fit into a judo environment, you can fit into any society."

Training for up to six hours a day, seven days a week, Nartey qualified for the Olympics by finishing fifth in the African Championships.

Now he hopes to represent his country at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

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