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Judo in the time of Covid-19: Amy Livesey
25 May 2020 08:45
Amy Livesey comes from a judo family with sister Bekky and brother Owen. She’s been all around the world but the Olympic Games are still a dream. Lots of competition for the Livesey’s and in this time of period you can only qualify to stay safe. Oon Yeoh of JudoCrazy asked Amy Livesey how the European U23 Champion of 2015 is dealing with the circumstances these days.
JIC: Do you recall the last time you did judo? How much longer do you think it will be before British judokas can train again?
AL: I last did judo on Wednesday, 11 March. We have no idea when we will be able to practise judo again, I don’t think it will be anytime soon as we aren’t allowed to even use a gym yet never mind do a contact sport.
JIC: The Olympics has been postponed for a year but if a vaccine is not found yet by then, do you think it’s safe to hold the Games as planned?
AL: I think if a vaccine isn’t found it’s unsafe for the Games to go ahead as planned because of the number of people who will be there. It only takes one person to have Covid-19 and it will infect so many people. So, I do think it will be risky if a vaccine isn’t found.
JIC: As an athlete who has qualified for the Olympics but unable to train for it for an uncertain period of time, what goes through your mind?
AL: I just hope we get a good block of training in before competitions start again. Most British judokas are just training in the living room or back garden right now. I understand that players from many other countries are in the same position but a few countries have started judo training already, and small handful didn’t even stop at all. So, we have some catching up to do.
JIC: I presume you’re doing some strength and conditioning exercises. What’s your daily routine like these days?
AL: All Centre of Excellence players have Zoom sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Other days I run or do a bike session or even YouTube workouts just to mix things up.
JIC: Do you have enough randori partners at the Centre of Excellence?
AL: In Walsall we have plenty of randori partners as most of the high-level girls are based here. If I were to train at my home club I would have plenty of partners but they just wouldn’t be high-level as most of them are pretty young.
JIC: Can you tell us a bit about your home club?
AL: My home club is SKK in Newton-le-Willows, run by Peter Blood. He has produced many high-level players including my sister, Bekky Livesey, and Lucy Renshall. Both of them are now based in Walsall too.
JIC: How popular is judo in the UK these days?
AL: Personally, I don’t think it is very popular, it’s never really televised or advertised even. Over the last years they’ve started to broadcast the final block on Eurosport or BBC Sport but this is only for big events. I think if there were more publicity and promotion done, judo would become more popular.
JIC: You come from a judo family, with your sister still an active competitor, and your brother formerly a competitor. Was it something your parents wanted their kids to do?
AL: Actually no. My parents had never done judo before so it wasn’t them who got us into judo. My brother started it first. Then I joined but didn’t really like it at first, so I quit. Later, when my sister joined, I decided to join it again.
JIC: Is your sister your regular training partner?
AL: Yes, Bekky is my judo partner. We literally do everything together! Even now we are locked down together, and we are close to killing each other… ha ha… We are doing some form of training together every day. But when we need a break from each other, we try to train alone or go for a run just to get away from each other.
JIC: Are you a fully-funded athlete? Do you take on other jobs to supplement your income?
AL: I am a fully-funded athlete but I work in a pub sometimes when I have a weekend free from judo. I enjoy this as it tends to take my mind off sport.
JIC: Do you have time for other hobbies or interests?
AL: I don’t really have time for anything else, I am so tired from training in the week I don’t want to do anything when I get home. But I am a big online shopper! On some weekends I travel to Germany to see my boyfriend, but it’s not often we are both free on the same weekend!
JIC: And your boyfriend a judo player too!
AL: Yes it is Dominic Ressel! He trains in Cologne, which is about a 10-hour drive from Walsall, so when I visit, I’d usually fly there.
JIC: Is it hard maintaining a long-distance relationship? Perhaps the fact that he’s a judoka too helps?
AL: It’s hard but we both understand the situation and it’s nice we can explore so many countries together. It’s best when we both win medals!
JIC: What’s the hardest thing about being a full-time athlete?
AL: The dedication and commitment you have to have. Holidays, family parties and gatherings — these are things I really miss.
JIC: So, why do you do this?
AL: Well, I love what I do and right now I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
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