When Tauranga Boys' College student Josh Preston started judo he was looking to expand his skills, now he's aiming for a gold finish in a championship event this weekend.
The 17-year-old is one of hundreds of judo enthusiasts who will showcase their skills in a trio of events hosted by the Tauranga Judo Club on Sunday.
The club is hosting three events at Aquinas College including a fun day, as well two national championship events - an intermediate school competition and a secondary school competition.
Josh will compete in the boys' 81kg+ and open weight divisions and is aiming for gold in his weight class, also wanting to do well in the open division.
"I've been training in the dojo three days a week, but also put in work out at the gym and on the treadmill every other day," Josh says.
Josh came to the sport when he was looking for an alternative to football.
"I was eager to try another sport and judo caught my eye. Judo appeals to me because I not only enjoy the sporting and competition side of it, but judo teaches me life skills that may come in handy one day."
At the other end of the scale another Tauranga Boys' College student, 14-year-old Binew Illangamudalige, will compete in the boys' 40-45kg division.
"I would like to achieve at this tournament, to be in the top three placings. I have done normal judo training on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday training and at school I do ADP, which is lifting weights," Binew says.
"I saw the judo sign at the clubrooms next to where I was playing football. I tried it out and really enjoyed it and wanted to do more, and here I am still doing judo five years later."
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The two national tournaments will include divisions that are separated in 5kg increments while the fun day will match up groups of children, taking into account similar weights, experience and ages.
The event is organised by Waikato Bays Judo Association and hosted by Tauranga Judo Club and club vice-president Ben Willacy says the areas around New Zealand usually take turns at hosting the national tournaments.
"This tournament is a chance for the kids to represent their schools rather than their club. It is a chance to get some recognition in their school environment and for the hard work they put in. They train hard and have to commit."
"It is a lot of co-ordination – things like getting referees who are qualified at that level and generally you have three referees per match. Then there is the score keeping and timekeeping and the making up of the draw."
Willacy says the sport is doing well in the Tauranga area.
"We had a nice increase in size a couple of years ago and we have a good core group of kids and adults that are quite committed. It is a sport that allows people from all ages to take part.
"We have members from 5e to 70 training regularly. It is a good way to build self-esteem and respect for others and you can't help but get fit. It is a way to have rough and tumble in a safe environment and it contributes to the person as a whole."
National intermediate and secondary school judo championships and fun day:
When: July 7.
Where Aquinas College.
Fun day weigh-ins: 7.30am
Fun Day: 9am
Secondary schools competition: 10.30am
Intermediate schools competition: 12pm.