England selection for Catford judo ace

News Shopper: Leonardo Bertocchi Leonardo Bertocchi

A YOUNG judo star from Catford has been called up by the England squad.

Leonardo Bertocchi, 15, enjoyed an impressive 2013 with strong performances in the British championships, the independent schools championships and the south of England open catching the eye of the national selectors.

The Year 11 pupil at Colfe’s school in Lee will be part of the England squad when they compete in the Midlands on February 1.

Bertocchi said: “Last year was very good for me and I’m really excited to now be in the England squad, competing in judo at the highest level.

“This year is also significant for me because I am taking my GCSEs in the summer, so I’m really grateful for the support and help that Colfe’s sand my family are giving me to stay focused and balance two very important events in my life.”

Bertocchi has been involved with judo since the age of eight and has a tough training schedule ahead of him.

He explained: “Everyone has really supported me last year; helping me to get this far, but now being in the England squad means training four nights and around six hours a week; obviously I have my work and revision to do as well.

“My first event as part of the squad will be in the Midlands at the beginning of February and travelling around the world later in the year.

“This is going to be a hard but very exciting year ahead for me and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Colfe’s head of GCSE performance Andy Foster said: “I’m absolutely delighted for Leo.

“He has done tremendously well to get to this level with his Judo.

“Colfe’s teachers really understand both how important sport and other extra-curricular activities are to young people’s development, and also how hard it can be for students to balance their workload.

“Well done Leo, we are all very proud of you.”

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