Three teenagers from the Tauranga Judo Club are heading to a three-day national camp in Nelson this weekend.

The talented trio includes 16-year-old Josh Preston, 13-year-old Kenta Beech and 15-year-old Nicole Williams.

Tauranga Judo Club president Blair Winders said the camp was part of the High Performance Commission National Squad development programme and forms part of the selection process for representing New Zealand.

''It's quite important and an achievement even to be selected for this camp. We are trying to get our best possible players out on to the world scene.''

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Winders said judo was a great form of self-defence.

"It's a sport and you could go to the Olympics if you are good enough.''

Meanwhile, being a winner was another skill required to make it to the top.

''There is none of this 'I just want to compete' sort of thing. You need to have that feeling that you want to win and you want to excel in what you are doing.''

But the benefits could last a lifetime, he said.

''You get a lot of self-belief and confidence. It's also a cultivation of the mind.

''Judo is a lifelong learning curve, and there are so many different directions you can go with it including coaching or teaching at schools. It's also a good baseline to carry on with other sports.''