Judo: James Hayes fears Olympic dream could be ended by lack of funds

Gazette Series: OLYMPIC DREAM: James Hayes in his England judo kit OLYMPIC DREAM: James Hayes in his England judo kit

A TALENTED teenager from Cam fears his Olympic dream could be brought to an end by a lack of funds.

James Hayes, 16, has been part of British Judo’s talent development programme for the last three years and has climbed the rankings to become England number one in the U73 cadet category.

Hayes started judo aged seven and now travels all over Europe to take part in competitions and training camps in the hope that he will be able to compete at the Olympics in 2020.

However, the Rednock School sixth form pupil might not be able to continue taking part in several competitions and extra training sessions, which are crucial if he is to progress any further, unless he is able to find some financial support.

He said: “It would make a huge difference. I could train with people better than me and it would allow me to do more travelling and more competitions.

“I’ve put quite a lot of effort in to get where I am. I love it. It’s been great meeting loads of different people.”

Hayes, who is training alongside Olympians at the British Judo Academy in Walsall this week, claimed a bronze medal at the British Championships in December and got the calendar year off to a good start by taking silver at the Midland Open in January and winning gold at Northern Home Counties ranking competition.

The Bradley Stoke Judo Club member will be competing in European Cadet Cup events in Croatia and Portugal in and March and May respectively and is hoping to raise money for a similar event in Berlin later in the year.

Travelling expenses, competition entry fees and attire cost Hayes approximately £5,000 a year and his mum Donna is no longer able to continue funding it.

He needs to compete in all the national ranking competitions in order to maintain his position as England number one and earn selection for European events.

Hayes has applied for funding from Sports Aid and is sending letters off to local businesses, after financial support from the Dursley Lions and B. Walker & Co helped him continue last year.

A punishing schedule sees Hayes train five times a week across the country with sessions in Bath, Cardiff, Walsall and Bradley Stoke.

Although he was unable to get tickets to London 2012, Hayes followed the judo competition closely on television and said it made him more determined to become an Olympian himself.

He added: “It gives you an insight in to what you could be doing in the future hopefully.”

Anyone interested in sponsoring James should contact Donna on 07828113631 or email donna.hayes62@yahoo.co.uk

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