Caitlin Leigh

Caitlin Leigh

Caitlin fell in love with Judo aged 5. She became one of our 2019 Christmas Appeal stars, encouraging and motivating others to get active and live healthier lives! Read more about her story below...

Caitlin, 16, has been doing Judo since she was 5 years old. She immediately fell in love with the sport as it was something she found she could get stuck into and feel as an equal to her peers, despite being registered blind and sometimes finding it hard to be included.

Image sees young girl crouching next to a black labrador, under snow and snowflakes. Labrador wears a red santa hat

Since then she has gone from strength to strength competing both against fully sighted judoka and other blind and partially sighted judoka, showing herself and everyone else that having a visual impairment is not something to hold you back.

Caitlin’s trophy cabinet is bursting at the seams. For the past 2 years she has won Gold in the VI British Open, as well as winning Gold for the past 2 years in the VI British Schools championships! In 2018 she was asked along to the VI German Open alongside some of the current VI GB squad, where she won bronze at her very first international competition.

 

In early October she also won Silver at the Commonwealth Judo Championships in the VI category, which saw her compete against senior judokas, as well as juniors.

Outside of competing, Caitlin attends the para potential days at The Judo Centre of Excellence at Walsall, under the guidance of Ian Johns, GB VI Paralympic Head coach. She is also training on average 4 times a week across various clubs and attending R.E.D.S (Regional England Development Squad) training monthly. All of this training is done alongside fully sighted judokas!

Caitlin can’t wait to see what the future holds and her goal is to represent her country at the Paralympics.

Image sees a young girl and boy in a judo ring wearing judo clothing, fighting on the ground with an umpire in the background. The image has christmas lights along the top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caitlin has never let having a visual impairment stop her in life! Judo has been a solid foundation for Caitlin throughout her life. It has given her so much confidence and social interaction as well as incredible life experiences, proving to everyone that knows her that people with sight loss can be fully involved in sport and physical activity.

Caitlin has achieved all of her success whilst also undergoing over 40 eye operations in her life to treat her glaucoma. Not only is she a budding Judo star herself, but Caitlin takes it upon herself to inspire everyone she knows and meets to take up new activities and give sport a go, no matter what.

Caitlin’s story will be used to help encourage other blind and partially sighted people to find out about their local, visual impairment friendly sports clubs and organisations and to take that step towards a more active lifestyle