'You've got to shoot for the moon': Ipswich judo star targets Olympic success
PUBLISHED: 10:52 05 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:52 05 September 2019
A 17-year-old Ipswich judo star has his eyes set on Olympic glory, after competing for team GB in competitions across Europe.
Suffolk New College pupil Paul Cooledge has been training at Ipswich Judo Club since he was five years old. Paul currently competes at cadet level(under 18) and is looking to progress to junior level (under 21), eventually he will be able to become a senior and its at this level that he would be able to become part of team GB.
To date Paul's biggest successes have been achieving a black belt by the age of 16 and winning a national competition.
"It's the biggest competition in Great Britain for people of my age," said Paul.
"I also gained a black belt by winning eleven fights in one day. At times I was competing against people who were significantly heavier than me - it was like Anthony Joshua fighting Floyd Mayweather."
Daily strength and conditioning sessions are an important part of Paul's schedule with the youngster having to ignore the temptation of takeaways and junk food to achieve his goals.
Paul has been helped in his ambitions by two Olympic athletes; double Olympic silver medallist Neil Adams and double bronze medallist Brian Jacks.
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He said: "People like Neil and Brian are role models and outside of Judo, I look up to Anthony Joshua. All of their work ethics inspire me to improve."
Looking to the future Paul has already started to compete on the international stage at a more junior level at tournaments in Belgium, France and Germany.
Paul said:"I would like to fight in the Commonwealth games at junior level in a few years and looking ahead, the Olympics is a possibility.
"When you feel like your actions are going to reflect on your country, it's a big pressure. I'm just a local boy from Ipswich fighting some of the biggest names in the world.
"So, if I was to win a medal for Great Britain at an event like the Olympics, it would be the best feeling in the world. It would show your hard work and dedication has paid off.
"You've got to shoot for the moon."
Paul's tutor at Suffolk New College, Lee Mandley believes that the youngster will go far.
He said, "Paul is an inspirational student who is determined to reach the top of his sport. We will continue to help and support his ambitions so that he can go on and fulfil his dreams."