Izaac Roycroft has always struggled to play everyday sports like a normal kid.

The Aquinas College student suffers from a visual impairment which makes it difficult for him to track fast movements. This means most sports are out of the question for Izaac.

Two years ago, however, he went to the Tauranga Judo Club and started judo - a sport which relied more on grappling rather than fast movements.

The sport allows Izaac to take part in the rough and tumble activities enjoyed by many growing young men.


Judo allows Izaac to enjoy sports like a normal 11-year-old boy and, on Sunday, he competed in his first event - the Tauranga Fun Day held at Aquinas College as a pre-event to the National Secondary School's Judo Tournament.

Tauranga's Izaac Roycrott, 11, (with the blue belt) is fighting Waihi's Matthew Jennings. Photo/George Novak
Tauranga's Izaac Roycrott, 11, (with the blue belt) is fighting Waihi's Matthew Jennings. Photo/George Novak

Izaac had always wanted to learn martial arts but, due to his visual struggles, tracking punches and kicks ruled out many options.

He loved the first of what, he hoped, would be many judo competitions he would take part in and even came away with a bronze medal.

"It's great because I can actually do something for once. I've not been able to do many sports," Izaac said.

"I hope to do more competitions ... I'm actually pretty good at judo," he said.

Tauranga Judo Club president Blair Winders said the competition was about providing budding athletes with the chance to use what they had learned in a competitive setting, as well as the experience of getting on the mat in front of spectators.

"[Izaac's] come a long way to do that," he said.

Izaac's grandmother Valerie Roycroft said judo had helped his co-ordination, taught him self-defence.


She said it was "good for him to be a rough and tumble" and it got him off the PlayStation and electronic devices.

"It's really good for their confidence and co-ordination."

Valerie - a former karate instructor- said Izaac had always wanted to try judo but it wasn't until the family moved to Tauranga from Auckland that it became achievable. Now he attends trainings twice a week.

"He really, really enjoys it and is looking forward to watching his next competition," Valerie said.