Louise Kelly recently spent six months overseas, two months in Scotland and four months in Budapest, at an Olympic training centre and competing in the junior European circuit.
The 20-year-old brown belt has been training in Judo for nine years and has an impressive medal collection to boot.
The first to be crowned New Zealands strongest woman at the Richmond A & P show, in an event run by Luke Slotemaker in 2016 – she came runner-up in the event in 2017 – Louise has competed in strength training events and many charity events, she is one tough nut.
A swimmer from an early age who trained at Richmonds Aquatic Centre, Louise’s favourite moment in Judo was competing at the junior world champs in Croatia last year. “Representing New Zealand was amazing, unfortunately I lost to Japan, but it was a great experience and learning curve.”
Now solely competing in senior categories the bar has been raised, last year was a big year competing and training, and this year is set to be even bigger and more expensive.
Judo, like many other minor sports in New Zealand, is completely self-funded.
Louise says a year of judo roughly costs around $10,000 for competition fees, flights and accommodation. She hopes to be achieving her goal of competing at the 2022 Commonwealth games and even 2024 Olympic Games, but the costs will add up.
“Because judo is a self-funded sport here, I have to pay for everything myself. The money raised through ‘give a little’ will be spent on flights and accommodation for upcoming tours.
“It will also be used to pay entry fees for upcoming competitions.”
If you would like to help Louise realise her goals, go to www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/help-me-chase-my-dream