The Saint Lucia Judo Association in collaboration with the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Education have embarked on a campaign aimed at increasing the participation of young people in the Olympic sport of judo.
According to Chief Instructor Paul Richards, the idea was born out of the realization that judo could be an effective means of helping students improve their day to day lives, by being more disciplined, and respectful while learning to defend themselves and develop healthy lifestyles.
Richards said similar initiatives have been undertaken in other international judo federation member countries with tremendous success. He said he is happy that the local education system has embraced the idea, is optimistic that as the benefits of judo in schools becomes better known, it will also be appreciated by parents.
Among the benefits of doing judo, cited by Richards, are improvement in overall fitness; self confidence, social skills, attendance and academic performance. He believes the programme will help in addressing a number of problems affecting schools and youth, including violence, bullying and other disruptive behavior.
The very physical nature of the sport, he said, will also ensure participants do not suffer from obesity or other chronic non-communicable diseases which are increasingly affecting the younger population.
The classes start on Monday, May 6 and will be held at the Vigie Sports Complex from Monday to Thursday, from 4 pm to 5:30 pm and on Saturdays from 9 am to 12 pm.
The hope is that the programme can be extended to other schools around the island.