Authorization

Elliot Stewart on his battle to practise judo again after losing part of sight

Elliot Stewart on his battle to practise judo again after losing part of sight

Elliot Stewart won a bronze medal at the International Blind Sports Federation Judo Grand Prix in Turkey in AprilImagine you are 28, with a wife and three kids, then you suddenly start losing your sight.That's what happened to British judoka Elliot Stewart but he has adapted to the life-changing development and is now aiming for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics."At first I thought it was because I was getting older," he told BBC Sport. "But then three months later the amount of vision I'd lost was quite a lot.
"It was worrying. Especially when the people you go to at the hospital aren't too sure what was going on. Scary really."Stewart, now 30, was eventually diagnosed with keratoconus[/i] - a condition that causes the cornea to weaken, impairing the ability of the eye to focus properly.An operation stopped him from losing his sight completely, but the condition has had a significant effect on his life."I lost my job because I couldn't drive any more. I was teaching judo in schools but I can't do that any more because I can't get there," he explained. "It was a tough time."But coming out of the operation, knowing that I qualified for visually impaired judo, it was a good outcome really."Judo has always been a big part of the Stewart family with his father Dennis, a GB Judo coach, winning bronze in the -95kg category at the 1988 Olympics. Elliot's younger brother Max is already on GB Judo's elite programme and will be competing in the World Championships, which start in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Thursday.
[img]http://www.bbc.co.uk/data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP//yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7[/img]

Max Stewart (right) competing at the Paris Judo Grand Slam in 2017They, like the rest of the Stewart family, helped pay for Elliot's crucial operation."We just came together as a family and got it sorted," said 25-year-old Max, who competes in the -90kg category on Monday."Now he's back on the mat and he's doing what he wants to do."I try to emulate the guys he fights as much as possible. He's still getting used to [visually impaired judo] so it's better for me to fight in that style to help him get where he needs to be as fast as possible."And Elliot is getting there fast. He fought in his first international competition in August 2017 and is already targeting November's visually impaired World Championships.In 2020 the brothers are aiming for their respective Olympic and Paralympic competitions in Tokyo - 32 years after their father won his Olympic medal in Seoul.special guide."We've wanted it for so many years now," said Max. "That's the reason we both started judo."Elliot added: "That's why we push our bodies to the limits, that's why we push each other as hard as we can."The brothers run a judo club three times a week in Bartley Green, Birmingham. They want to give aspiring young judokas the same opportunities they have had in the sport.And for Elliot, it's a chance to instil in them the kind of mentality he learned from judo, which got him through the toughest time of his life."Judo has helped me be positive," he said."Knowing I can come on this mat and train with the able-bodied players and train just as hard as everyone else means off the mat I can do that as well."World Championship medals mean a great deal to every athlete. But two for the Stewart household this autumn would be extra special.
See also:
Leave a comment
News
  • Latest
  • Read
  • Commented
Calendar Content
«    Декабрь 2019    »
ПнВтСрЧтПтСбВс
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031