Jonathan is ‘ippon’ it!

Just Regional
Aug 11, 2016 3 mins read

The Rio 2016 Olympics may be nearly over, but there’s still lots of amazing sporting action to enjoy at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in September, including Drayton’s Jonathan ‘Jono’ Drane, who will compete as part of the GB judo team.

Jono got into judo at the age of 13 purely by chance, and subsequently began training at Kumo Judo Club in Norwich.

At the age of 15 Jono was diagnosed with ADHD and he credits judo with helping him get through his teenage years. He is passionate about supporting people with ADHD and in 2014 he became a patron for the ADHD Foundation.

He fought on the GB sighted squad before his eyesight started to deteriorate due to Corneal dystrophy (Bi lateral Keratoconus), diagnosed as part of a routine eye check in 2011, and now he is aiming for success as a part of Great Britain’s visually impaired (VI) judo team.

As a member of the British senior squad, he also attended the London 2012 Paralympics as a training partner before he formally joined the VI judo programme in 2013.

In his first ever VI competition, Jono clinched a pretty impressive victory (fighting at -73kg), seizing gold by winning every fight by ippon – the highest score in Judo which ends the match immediately, like a knockout in boxing – in an excellent display performance at the VI US Open in Colorado.

Jono is the current VI World bronze medallist and is ranked inside the top 10 in the world despite picking up a serious knee injury that kept him out of the 2015 World Games and European Championships.

Jono was selected for the team in February but the qualification process started back in 2013.

“My knee injury put me out for nine months last year, but luckily I’d picked up enough points before then to qualify,” said Jono, who spoke to us from The British Judo Association Centre of Excellence in Walsall.

“With everything that’s happened over the last few years it was great to be selected.

“Since February training has been at a higher intensity. I’m training every day for about six hours, with lots of sparing – it feels more like a 12-hour day!”

And that’s not the end of the day, getting the nutrition and rest he needs are very important, and he is also spending a lot of time on tactical analysis and preparing individual fight plans with the team.

“I was also lucky to be able to go out to train in Japan this year, which is like a pilgrimage for a Judo player, and I was also invited to the test event in Brazil, which helps massively, especially in familiarising yourself with the lighting.”

Jono will fly out to Rio on August 29 and spend five days in a holding camp before being transferred to the Olympic village. His competition (men’s -81kg weight division) will take place on the second day, and if he wants to have the gold medal at the end of it Jono said he’d need to win all four of his fights.

“As we’ve seen at the Olympics, Judo can go any way and a lot of it will come down to externals going the right way and a bit of luck,” said Jono, who has had huge support from family and friends, and his parents will be in Rio with him.

“The biggest thing I can ask for is to keep smiling and spend as much time on the mat as possible.”

ParalympicsGB Team Announcement ParalympicsGB Team Announcement

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