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British judoka Nicola Fairbrother retires

29 Feb 2000 22:05

 TWOJ, the world of Judo, by Don Werner    David Finch /

After an incredible career in Judo, Nicola Fairbrother has decided to retire. She started at the age of seven. Her achievements are so numerous it is impossible to mention them all. As coach Don Werner at Pinewood taught her all skills. Her greatest achievement was the World Title won at Hamilton, Canada in 1993. The 1992 Olympic Silver medal in the Barcelona, which came so close to being Britain's first ever Olympic Judo Gold, is a close second. Nik was honoured by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth with the MBE, for her contribution to British Sport.

Four European Titles, 1 junior and 3 senior, shows what an incredibly consistent fighter she has been at the very top level over a long period. In fact, Nicola Fairbrother has been British number one in her weight for over a decade. 
During 1993, Nicola Fairbrother was presented with the European Judoka of the year award; this is an outstanding honour. She has also been presented with the Dame Edith Russell-Smith Vase on two occasions for Women's British Judo Personality of the year. Three times runner up in the Sunday Times Sports Award is another quality recognition. 
She has always been a wonderful ambassador for British Judo, popular with all the top people in the world. Many a time I have been with her when Judoka and Coaches from foreign countries will go out of their way to speak with her.

Nicola Fairbrother: “As I retire from judo, I would like to thank some people: Don. My mum and dad. Darren. Everybody at Pinewood. Miriam and my Spanish club. My friends. The list does go on. And on. After all I've been doing judo for 22 years and that's 22 years of support and help - therefs a lot of people I would like to thank. 
All these people are spearheaded by one person - Don Werner. Don taught me everything I needed to make it all possible and stood by my side through it all. He taught me my judo. He also taught me how to compete; how to win, and he taught me how to accept losing. From when I was 8 until Moscow this year, he has been there for me. Don, it seems insufficient as a word, but THANK YOU. 
There are many more people who supported me and in doing so made the winning that much sweeter and the losing that much easier to take. Mum. What can I say? In-exhaustible, she has filled pool sheets out and had her shoulders cried on in stadiums around the world, always believing I could do it. Dad. Thanks for the logic and calmness essential to winning. Darren, for being my involuntary uke for Juji-gatames. (I am now paying dearly for those reckless teenage years when he weighed slightly less than he does today).  
To my friends. Friends, who have seen me at my best and worst, my highest and lowest and without whom I wouldn't have got through the bad times nor enjoy the good times. I have made my best friends through judo and thank you all. I won't list you all here, not so much for fear of missing anyone out as I know exactly who you are - but I wouldn't like to put an order to it. 
Thank you to every single fighter and parent at Pinewood. It is the perfect club, as only Pinewood fighters can understand. And thanks must also go to the fighters at the Spanish club where I trained for the last 2 years of my career and to Miriam, who has tried to turn that Silver into Gold, but some things just aren't meant to be. 
And the list continues... Ken Kingsbury, Roy Inman, Neil White, Ian Morsman, Alan Porton. Thank you. 
Medals are not won by one person, but they are reflection of a lot of hard work from a lot of people. Thank you all, it's been fantastic.“ 

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Related Judo Photos

  • Nicola Fairbrother (GBR) - World Championships Hamilton (1993, CAN) - © David Finch,
  • Nicola Fairbrother (GBR) - Olympic Games Atlanta (1996, USA) - © David Finch,
  • Nicola Fairbrother (GBR), Karen Roberts (GBR) - © From internet, no source

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