Paralympic gold medallist Chris Hunt Skelley MBE has returned the UK from a five-week training tour of Japan as he continues his preparation for the European Championships and IBSA World Games later this month.
This intense training has also helped the gold medallist from Tokyo 2020 to prepare for qualification to compete in the next Paralympics in Paris next year.
Chris said: The camp was about building up to the Championships and World Games, to take it up to the next level and making sure we were in the best possible shape we can be."
Chris, who is the current 100kg Judo Paralympic gold medallist, was one of a number of athletes taking part in training camps in Japan, organised by British Judo.
"Japan is the home of Judo, it’s a fantastic place to go to," he said. "You come across different athletes, of different shapes and sizes, and different abilities. They are amazing fighters so it is top-class work, and really hard as well.
"As Judo is one of the main sports in Japan, it meant we could go to so many different universities and fight. They don’t use their strength so much, but they are very technical fighters. It was very worthwhile going out there to improve my own performance and to be smarter when competing."
For the first two weeks, Chris and his group stayed at the International Budo University, in Katssura, Chiba Prefecture. They then moved to central Tokyo for three weeks, visiting a number of universities, including Nichidai (Nihon University) and Meiji University.
The trip was not all about fighting, however, as Chris was able to spend some quality time exploring this fascinating country. "It’s the most downtime we’ve had since I’ve been going out there to train, we got to visit temples, the centre of Tokyo, a fish market and lots of cool places."
Having returned from Japan, Chris and his coaches are now refining his technique ahead of the Championships, or as Chris puts it, "tweaking a fine-oiled machine."
And far from taking a few weeks to relax, Chris is brimming with confidence and is eager to get going in Birmingham.
"It is very much a case of my coach having to hold me back!"
The IBSA World Games is the largest high-level international event for athletes with visual impairment, with more than 1,250 competitors from 70 nations. It will take place from 18-27 August 2023, at the University of Birmingham.
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