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Sponsorship gives Grantham judo star chance at future Olympics

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A rising judo star from Grantham, who hopes to strike gold at the Olympics one day, has moved a step closer to achieving his dream after securing funding to support his training.

Armandas Jursys, aged 15, will train at UFC GYM in Nottingham, which offers specialised mixed martial arts (MMA) training, after Grantham-based engineering firm BGB stepped in to cover the cost of his membership.

During his first tour of the gym, which took place before the COVID-19 restrictions came into force, the Bluecoat Meres Academy pupil said: “This is a really good opportunity for me to work on my goals and take my training up to the next level.”

Left to right: Rikki Jeffrey (UFC Gym), Alastair Weir (Bluecoat Meres Academy), James Tupper (BGB), Armandas Jursys and Richard Purves (UFC Gym) (33634674)
Left to right: Rikki Jeffrey (UFC Gym), Alastair Weir (Bluecoat Meres Academy), James Tupper (BGB), Armandas Jursys and Richard Purves (UFC Gym) (33634674)

Armandas, whose hero is mixed martial artist Khabib Nurmagomedov, started judo and karate at the age of five-years-old in his native Lithuania.

Having developed a passion for judo at a young age, the active youngster poured all of his energy into training, despite moving to Spain and back to Lithuania, before settling in the UK.

He normally trains four or five times a week with Vale Judo Club in Oakham and has won gold at national tournaments. He also watches YouTube videos avidly as he continues to hone his technique and will continue training at home while the restrictions are in place.

Joining Armandas and his PE teacher Alastair Weir for the gym tour, was James Tupper, marketing manager at BGB, who presented the young athlete with the first instalment of funding.

James said: “We are really pleased to be supporting this talented and highly-motivated young man on his journey towards Olympic success and then on to becoming a professional UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) fighter.

“BGB is covering his membership, which includes weekly strength and conditioning classes to complement the one-to-one coaching that UFC Gym is providing free-of-charge, from UFC GYM Nottingham Head Coach, Tolly Plested, who holds black belts in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

“I am a martial arts fan myself, so I’ll be following Armandas’ progress with great interest. He is really driven and his enthusiasm for the sport is clear for anyone to see – he’s a real credit to his school.”

Alastair got in touch with BGB, which develops rotary solutions for wind turbines and other mechanical applications, because of its long-standing connection with the school.

He said: “BGB is a well-respected local employer and close to us geographically, so I thought they might want to help. We had no idea that James and the CEO David Holt are passionate about MMA too.

“The donation will enable Armandas to develop his skills, strength and fitness even further, so he can win more national tournaments and compete internationally.”

Open to all ages and abilities, UFC GYM offers group fitness classes, private MMA coaching, and personal and group dynamic training. Its MMA-style youth programme is available to children of all abilities, from the age of six upwards. Find out more at: www.ufcgym.co.uk.

READ MORE: Grantham area news

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