Olympic dreams for Wolston judo medallist who hopes to make sporting history in 2024

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“I know I’ve done everything I can to land a gold medal”

An Olympic judo bronze medallist from Wolston has set her sights on making sporting history this summer at Paris 2024.

Chelsie Giles, 26, won Team GB’s first medal at the last Olympics in Tokyo but only had her training partner brother to celebrate with due to covid restrictions.

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She is hoping to emulate that feat in front of her family and a packed arena this time round.

Chelsie Giles. Picture: Mike Varey.Chelsie Giles. Picture: Mike Varey.
Chelsie Giles. Picture: Mike Varey.

Chelsie is also hoping other females will take up the sport.

No British judoka has ever won an Olympic gold medal, but having already fought her way to a podium finish last time round, the Wolston resident wants to grapple head on with the unwanted record if she gets to Paris.

Chelsie is currently ranked as number 5 in the world in the -52kg category, which would put her in pole position to compete at Paris 2024 if she can stay injury free.

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“The top of the podium is where I want to be, and the fact that we’ve never won a gold medal is extra motivation and it would be a dream come true to achieve that,” said Chelsie, who is in a strong position to represent Team GB in the French capital.

“I feel a bit of pressure because of my achievement in Tokyo, but most of it is what I put on myself and it’s my job to figure out how to deal with that pressure.

“I know that if I give 100 per cent in training then I know I’ve done everything I can to land a gold medal.

“Not only would it be a great achievement for me personally, but I am hoping it can do for judo what the Euros did for women’s football – to demonstrate that women are strong too and to inspire others to give the sport a go.”

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Judo is a family affair for Chelsie, whose younger brother Josh is also a professional judoka with an eye on LA in 2028. Her dad introduced them both to the sport at Coventry Judo Club in 2005, and the two have been training together throughout their careers.

“It’s nice to have family close by – it’s good motivation,” said Chelsie, who became a professional judoka at the tender age of 16 after deciding to prioritise judo over dancing, gymnastics and running.

“We probably didn’t get on the best when we were younger as we always wanted to beat each other, but we have such a good relationship now and we’ll help each other out.

“For Tokyo he was my training partner and it was good to have him by my side and has definitely made the journey a lot better.”

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Another person who won’t be far from Chelsie’s mind in Paris is her dad Jason, who has been a key driving force behind her career.

“When me and my brother were younger we were shy and didn’t have much confidence, but my dad remembered the great impact that judo had on him as a kid and that it was a great way to meet new people and build confidence – and he wanted that for us too.

“I just remember being sat on the sidelines watching my brother one day and the coach glanced over at me and asked if I wanted to have a go – I said yes and I’ve never looked back.

“Back then I would never have realised that the moment would have opened the door to the life I have today – but it just goes to show how important grassroots sport is.

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“My dad would always renew my judo licence for me every year – he’d always ask if I still wanted to do it and I never hesitated to say yes.

“I could have pursued other sports earlier in my career, but I have always felt part of a judo family which has helped me with life away from the mat.

“When I have lost family members, the sport has helped me to cope and has given me guidance. Even though you’re an individual when you’re out competing on the mat, you have a whole team behind you that you are training with day in day out, so feeling like part of a family has really helped me.”

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