07 December 2021

Sportsister meets Judoka Kelly Edwards

March 6, 2015
Kelly Edwards 1

At last summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Kelly Edwards hit the big time by winning a silver medal. Kelly also competed in London 2012 and despite being knocked out in the first round by the world No 1, the experience has inspired her to try to qualify for Rio 2016 and then Tokyo 2020, where she aims to be at her peak.

Kelly Edwards Portrait

London 2012

“Competing at London 2012 was undoubtedly a massive moment for me, but it did come along a little too early in my career.

I really enjoy the multi-sport events, the youth Olympics was my first experience and it was incredible. Obviously the London Games was beyond anything I could imagine, It seems surreal even now to be talking about it.

To have a memory of chatting to Usain Bolt in the village after he and Yohan Blake had taken gold and silver, it’s just hard to comprehend that that even happened.

The Commonwealth Games became like a second chance for me, it had the same vibe and feel, and was so special. I was living in Glasgow at the time, so I was totally immersed in it. Then I won silver and it was immense.

Kelly Edwards 2

To think I wasn’t that keen on Judo to start with!”

Getting started

“My mum was really keen for my to try Judo but I was a really girly girl, so one day I wanted £5 to go to the cinema and she did a deal – I try Judo and she would give me £5.

It worked and sometimes I think young girls just need a bit of a push to try things, I didn’t like it straight off, but here I am now and I am hugely grateful that my mum persevered – she had no thoughts of me becoming an Olympian at the time though.

I took to it really well and had a bit of early success, I enjoyed that feeling of winning and it gave me confidence.

Kelly Edwards 1

If I wasn’t into judo I would probably have been a dancer, I loved performing arts at school.”

What I love about Judo

“I like the variety in the sport – In fact each weight category is like a different sport really, we’re all different sizes so it suits a variety of body types, which is a massive plus for the sport – it means more people can enjoy it.

It’s a full on life, we train three or four times a day so there’s not a lot of down time, but it is important to have an off button, otherwise you just can’t keep up the momentum.

Judo is a year round sport with no seasonal break like other sports, so we have to plan breaks after the major competitions. It’s a tough life, but there’s a lot of variety so I love it.”

Qualification for Rio

“To qualify for Rio I have to be in the world top 14 by May next year, it’s quite a task but I am looking forward to the process – the quality of the field is really high, so I reckon it’s going to go all the way to the wire.”


“Judo is fought in weight categories so I do need to be sensible about what I eat, but it’s not a hardship. I am gluten free, so that also dictates how I eat. It makes me more organised and I have to plan ahead, like making sure I have my gluten free porridge and snacks when I travel.

I guess my favourite treat would be a gluten free brownie or pizza. But most days I just cook something really quick and easy because I don’t have much time – so it’s usually lots of vegetables and some protein.”

Role Model

“Kelly Holmes inspired me greatly, she had so many knock backs but was just incredibly strong  – I had a lot of injuries at one stage and she inspired me to keep going.”

Danielle Sellwood, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

Photo credits: Mike Varey elitepix

Kelly is hoping to qualify for the European Championships this year, you can follow her progress at www.kellyedwardsgb.com and follow her on Twitter at: @Kel_Edwards1

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