Exmouth's Mike, 70, celebrates judo success
PUBLISHED: 16:54 04 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:57 06 September 2017
An Exmouth man with multiple sclerosis (MS) is celebrating after a return to judo following an absence of 40 years produced a medal-winning performance.
Mike Selley, 70, won a bronze medal at the British Special Needs Open Championships, only eight months after taking the sport up again.
Mike, who lives in Jarvis Close, originally gave up judo having been diagnosed with MS, but won the medal having seen off many far younger opponents.
The championships, held in Stoke Mandeville, operate a category system to accommodate various physical and mental disabilities, with around 360 competitors in total.
Mike’s category saw him compete kneeling down rather than standing up, but with the rules of judo otherwise unchanged.
He took part in six contests, winning four and drawing the other two.
Mike, who is a member of Exmouth Vikings Judo Club, based at Exmouth Community College, said: “I’m very proud. For a 70-year-old with multiple sclerosis to achieve this is absolutely fantastic.
“It was a big day, and I’ve been speaking about hardly anything else since.
“I was the oldest contestant there.
“Other contestants were at least 30 years younger than me, which is another achievement I think as well, to be competing against people half my age or more than half my age.”
Mike, who said his decision to return to judo came after waking up one morning and having a ‘lightbulb moment’, says he hopes his success can be an inspiration to others, particularly elderly and disabled people.
He said: “I hope by my achievement that I will inspire other older members of society to take part in sport, hopefully judo but any sport really, and hopefully it will encourage other people with a disability to take part in sport, and show them sport is a good thing to do.”
Since his comeback to judo, Mike has already achieved the rank of brown belt, and is now hoping to move up to black belt, as well as to carry on competing and representing Exmouth Vikings, with the aim of returning to the British Open next year if possible.
He said: “My aim now is just to carry on for as long as I possibly can.”