A LANCING judoka has been presented with a prestigious lifetime achievement award to celebrate his 48 years of participation in the sport.
Paul Laskey, 64, who is one of the sport’s legendary black belt 6th Dan, was recognised for his years of commitment and hard work with the British Judo Council’s Lifetime achievement award at a ceremony at London’s Charing Cross Hotel at the start of March.
Laskey, who wears the famous red and white belt due to his 6th Dan status, ran the successful Sidney Walter Judo Club in Worthing for 20 years, until 2000 and now concentrates on instructing at national level courses, teaching all over the county.
The former Sussex-title winner turned instructor, is a member of the second largest judo organisation in the UK, the British Judo Council, which is affiliated to the national governing body, the British Judo Association.
He has held various positions within the council including chairman of the HQC for three years, director of refereeing for 10 years as well as being an international referee.
He was short-listed from 28 nominations which was cut down to just four, before being announced the winner of the night’s top gong in London.
Laskey said: “It felt really good because I knew that I had been short-listed, but I knew all the nominations came from all over the country.
“After finding out there were 28 nominations, when my name was read out on the night as the winner it felt great, as you know your peers have voted for you.
“Although, the hard part of it does make you feel slightly old getting a lifetime achievement award, I am very proud.”
He continued: “I will probably go on for as long as I can. We have people who are 85 years old and still teaching and had some up to the age of 90 on the mat teaching, although they have younger people to do the demonstrations.
“I will teach for as long as I can. Unfortunately, because of my competitions career, I have had to have both my knees replaced, which means I am a bit restricted now.
“Some would say I am actually disabled, but basically I go onto the mat and demonstrate as much as I can and when I cannot, I get someone younger to help.”
Laskey – a past Sussex, Kent and southern region veteran Dan grade champion – travels all over the county teaching and is also chief examiner and deputy vice-president of the BJC.
He aims to practise the sport and teach for another 10 years and hopes he can step up to the 7th Dan grade next year.
He said: “Black belt is where 1st Dan starts and runs up to 5th. When you get to 6th Dan you get the red and white belt. As far as the BJC are concerned, I am the only red and white belt in Sussex, the nearest to us I think, is London.
“I am hoping, as I am coming up to 10 years next year as a 6th Dan, I will be considered to go to a 7th Dan, as normally after 10 years they review your contribution and work.”