On Monday 10 October, Fifth and Sixth Form Sport Scholars learned what it takes to become a professional athlete in workshops led by Nekoda Smythe-Davis, GB Olympian and Commonwealth Judo champion.

Nekoda shared her sporting journey and explained the challenges, setbacks and lessons she has experienced along the way while preparing to be mentally and physically strong enough to compete for Great Britain. “Medals are how people measure your success, but when you look at my medals nobody sees the journey I have been on to get to that point,” she said.

Pupils also had a chance to practice some action on the judo mat. After she showed them how to prepare and fall safely, they learned some technical elements of Judo skills and progressed from novices to upskilled Judo beginners. There was a great sense of achievement, and a lot of enjoyment watching Nekoda ‘throw’ members of staff during the sessions.

At the end of the Judo sessions, Nekoda handed out signed autograph cards, answered more questions and took photos with the Scholars before awarding a Judo prize to the two pupils she believed had shown great promise in the session.

This programme was the first of a series of events for both Oundle and Laxton Junior Schools arranged by the Mintridge Foundation.