Derry Judo star Joshua Green banking on Olympic dream

Culmore Judo player Joshua Green has his eyes on this summer’s Olympics.Culmore Judo player Joshua Green has his eyes on this summer’s Olympics.
Culmore Judo player Joshua Green has his eyes on this summer’s Olympics.
​Joshua Green of Derry’s Konarakai Judo Club continues to forge his way in the Olympic Sport of Judo.

Green recently achieved a personal best fifth place at his 14th Grand Slam appearance in Kazakhstan, beating both the tournament's No. 5 and No. 8 seeded players en route tom winning three out of his five fights and very narrowly missing out on the bronze medal and a coveted podium finish.

And instead of a well earned rest Joshua was back quickly on the mat again within a week when he travelled to Abu Dhabi for the sport’s prestigious World Championship event.

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Only the top 100 players in the world were eligible to compete in Abu Dhabi and Joshua's current 43rd ranking in the Olympic standings represents a fantastic achievement for the 24-years-old Culmore man.

Joshua GreenJoshua Green
Joshua Green

With the best part of 20 years of Judo training under his belt, Joshua Joshua has gone from strength to strength on the world tour but his ultimate goal is to compete at an Olympic Games. It is a complicated route to qualify for Judo in the Olympics, only the top 17 in the World directly qualify for the Olympics. Nonetheless, Los Angeles in 2028 is most definitely on his radar and there is no let up in the training schedule for Joshua.

Derry has never before seen a Judoka reach these heights on the senior international world circuit and his local club couldn’t be prouder of what he is achieving. His father and club coach, Paul Green, commented: “It’s not easy to train full time in Judo. In the early days when Joshua went full time (about six years ago), he was able to avail of state of the art facilities and support services provided by the Sports Institute of NI based in Jordanstown and this was invaluable to him.

"Financially he's been partly supported by Mary Peters Trust, Derry & Strabane City Council, Irish Judo Association, Sport NI and Sport Ireland and, of course, the bank of Mum and Dad!

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"He's now competing on the international circuit with the top Judoka in the world and I'm continually in awe of his dedication and commitment to his training schedule, which remains unwavering.”

In February 2023, as his training needs evolved and after a change in coaching personnel, Joshua moved to train full time in Camberley, outside London where he lives and breathes Judo 24 hours a day, seven days a week alongside International judo players, former Olympians, Commonwealth gold medallists, Japanese, World and Olympic champions.

Having achieved the best finish for an Irish athlete in a Judo Grand Slam in five years (previously Ben Fletcher’s bronze in Baku GS 2019), Joshua is well on his way to achieving his dream of competing in an Olympic Games.

Among those to congratulate Joshua on his best performance to date were Ciaran Ward, former Irish Judo Olympian - 1992 and 1996 - and previous NI High Performance Coach who guided Joshua through his Birmingham Commonwealth 2022 fifth place finish; Also, well known GB Judoka Neil Adams MBE (former Olympic double silver medalist - 1980 and 1984) congratulated Joshua on a “great performance.”

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The local player is now on the hunt for a major sponsor to take the worry and stress of “money” out of the equation, which in turn would allow him to focus solely on his training and competitions.

“Securing funding is very difficult," explained Joshua, "Judo does not get the same media coverage, or attract the same level of funding as other Olympic sports like athletics, boxing or gymnastics for example, but the costs involved to train full time are just as high as any other sport. Being an athlete full time means that I cannot even work part-time.

“My training starts at 6 or 7am every day and isn’t finished until 9 or 10pm some nights and I need to be available to travel for training camps and competitions.

"As an athlete I need to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime; I need to work with nutritionists, strength coaches, well-being coaches. I want to train with the best in the world and all of this takes a lot of money. I’m extremely thankful to all of those who currently assist with my funding - especially Sport Ireland - and if I was to secure a private sponsor it would go a long way in helping me continue my path to the Olympics.”

Anyone who would be interested in helping this aspiring young athlete please don’t hesitate to contact Paul Green ([email protected]) who would be more than happy to answer any queries.

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