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Judo star Hayley is hitting new heights

PUBLISHED: 10:21 24 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:46 11 August 2010

JUST CHAMPION . . . Dagenham’s Hayley Willis.

JUST CHAMPION . . . Dagenham’s Hayley Willis.

A DAGENHAM schoolgirl s glittering judo career hit a new high when she was crowned National British champion in her class. Hayley Willis 13, of Romsey Road, is really starting to make her mark in the sport and her sensei Mick Foulger, of Stratford Judokwa

A DAGENHAM schoolgirl's glittering judo career hit a new high when she was crowned National British champion in her class.

Hayley Willis 13, of Romsey Road, is really starting to make her mark in the sport and her sensei Mick Foulger, of Stratford Judokwai has great belief in the Jo Richardson pupil.

"I believe she will be a future Olympian," he said.

"She's really devoted to the sport. Her life is judo and being crowned champion just shows how much of a talent she is."

Her father Paul, himself a sensei, agrees with Foulger's bold predictions.

"She can definitely make world level and she definitely wants to do an Olympics" he said.

"It would be nice to do 2012, but it would be a big ask. She is working so hard though. She is so very focused and sets herself challenges."

One of those demands she set herself was achieved recently when, for the second year running, she was selected in the British pre-cadet squad.

"She did really well to make it into the squad again and it is a great achievement," Foulger said.

"She has only been with us three years."

Hayley became interested in the sport after watching her father in action.

"I had a club in Bow I used to run and she would come with me and watch since the age of five," explained her father Paul.

"It got to the stage where I could not stop her having a go and it just went on from there."

"She goes training at the club three times a week, but trains every day, she sometimes corrects me when I teach about how to do some moves properly!"

The talented teenager's superb recent performances have gained her recognition not only from the British Judo squad.

"She was given a medallion and a £300 cheque to use within the club by the Jack Petchey Foundation," Foulger said.

"She is purely devoted to the sport and there is no doubt she will go very far.


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