Neil Adams opens United Judo Club Dojo in Bexley
The day was 29th September 2022 and what a big day it was for this United Judo. We opened the doors to the public for the very first time – from the countless donations, unmatched dedication and motivation we were able to achieve our dream of creating a safe space that children and adults.
Our head coach Dave Quinn caught up with Neil Adams MBE to discuss all things judo.
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More about Neil:
A bit of history on Neil Adams MBE:
Recognized as one of Britain’s most exceptional male judokas, Neal Adams is paradoxically etched in judo history not only for his numerous triumphs in international tournaments but also for two pivotal defeats. Adams commenced his judo journey in a modest wooden hut, serving as the local judo club in the midst of a car park, swiftly ascending to the status of junior European champion in 1977. That same year marked Adams’ breakthrough in senior competition, clinching a bronze medal at the European Championships.
His success continued into 1978, where he replicated his bronze medal achievement and secured a victory in the esteemed Kano Cup tournament. The years 1979 and 1980 witnessed an intense rivalry with Italy’s Ezio Gamba, resulting in a series of victories and defeats between the two judokas in major championships. Adams emerged victorious at the 1979 European Championships, while Gamba retaliated at the World Championships. The climax of their rivalry occurred in the Olympic final in Moscow, where Gamba secured a narrow triumph.
Undeterred by this setback, Adams rebounded spectacularly at the 1981 World Championships, becoming the first non-Japanese judoka to claim the middleweight title. Leading up to the Los Angeles Olympic Games, Adams consistently dominated every championship except the 1983 World Championships, where a controversial decision cost him the title. Arriving in California as the clear favorite for the gold medal, Adams faced a surprising defeat in the final against the relatively unknown German, Frank Wieneke, who expertly capitalized on a momentary lapse of concentration, resulting in Adams’ first-ever career-ending ippon.
Despite securing his fifth European title in 1985, Adams struggled to reclaim his former glory after the Olympic disappointment and eventually retired following his last Olympic appearance in 1988. Transitioning into a prominent coaching role post-retirement, Adams served as the head coach for both the Great Britain and Belgian national teams. Additionally, he contributed to the sport by producing films and technical manuals. Tragically, Adams’ elder brother, Chris Adams, narrowly missed Olympic selection in 1976 and later pursued a career as a professional wrestler in America, meeting an untimely end in a 2001 shooting incident in a Miami barroom.