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Kate Howey: The Judo Day of my Life

14 Jul 2020 07:50

   Christian Fidler

Kate Howey competed at four Olympic Games I her career with a bronze medal in Barcelona in 1992 and silver in Sydney in 2000. She competed at many World Championships and debuted in 1991 with world bronze, again in Barcelona when she was just 18 fighting U66kg.

Howey never won a European gold medal, only with the British team. Kate Howey had a long career and Judoinside caught up with the British women’s coach to ask, “If you could live one day from your competitive judo life again, exactly as it happened, with no changes”.

So Kate, what day would you choose and why?

It is hard for me to decide whether it was the day I won the Worlds or my first Olympic medal in Barcelona. I went with Barcelona 1992 on the basis that I was so young (19) so this was a massive achievement. I remember the day going very fast and the emotion that I felt once I beat the French girl (Claire Legat) for bronze. I started to cry when I won and I have never done that since or even before. The emotion was just too much for me to handle I think.

It was even more special as it was the first time my mum had ever seen me fight, it was always my dad that came to competitions all over the and he never missed one in my whole career.

I don’t think I would change anything on the day as I gave it everything I had although perhaps I would change the result of the semi-final which I lost on a split decision to the Cuban Odalis Jimenez-Reve (who won the gold) but honestly probably not as it could have been a little bit ‘too much soon’ as I was young.

That evening

There was not much of the evening left as the judo didn’t start until 4pm in the day and the finals at 10pm I think. The evening was a whirlwind once I won the medal with press conferences and so on. But I do remember going to see my dad, mum and stepdad also my grandparents after the medal ceremony and they were all having a great time in the bar with my coach Roy Inman, I wanted to stay with them but I couldn’t as it was late and I had to do media. I got back to the village in the early hours of the morning and went to bed with my medal under my pillow!

Anything is possible

For those who read this: remember that anything really is possible and age is just a number. Dreams  come true as long as you put the work in.

5 years later Kate Howey became World Champion in her class U66kg in Paris 1997 in the same year when she won the Tournoi de Paris.

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Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Natalie Powell (GBR), Kate Howey (GBR) - World Championships Tokyo (2019, JPN) - © IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio, International Judo Federation
  • Kate Howey (GBR) - Olympic Games Barcelona (1992, ESP) - © David Finch,
  • Kate Howey (GBR) - World Championships Paris (1997, FRA) - © David Finch,

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