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Rick Kenney has been involved in the sport of judo for many years now, around 59 years in all, and is what we may call “a well kent face”! Rick has worked tirelessly and passionately for his sport at an international, UK, Scottish and local level and has done this for a love of the sport and to try and make a difference for those who take part.

Rick has run judo clubs across Scotland – Motherwell YMCA, Blantyre and Edinburgh Meadowbank since the 1970’s and has been a coach; secretary; club chair and secretary, referee and general person who gets things done and makes an impact in the areas. He increased the numbers taking part at these clubs (he established the club in Blantyre Sports Centre in 1982 and this became the main focus for the National Squad to train at for many years). The Blantyre club was one of the first to welcome children with a disability to judo, which had not really been a focus back in those days.

Rick is one of JudoScotland’s longest serving Senior Examiners and was recently appointed as Scottish Director of Examiners. He has graded many people to black belt standard over the last 45 plus years. Rick has competed for UK and Scotland in both judo and wrestling some 40 times and currently holds the judo high grade of 8th Dan. Rick was British Judo team manager at World and European championships in the early 2000s and was Vice Chair of the British Judo Association from 1997 to 2004.

He has been a member of the National Governing body for judo in Scotland since 1963 and became a member of the Executive committee in 1976 and due to people’s respect for the man and his undoubted drive to make positives changes for the sport became Vice Chair in 1989 and then became JudoScotland Chair in 1994.

During Rick’s time as Chair, he was a tenacious and persuasive advocate for his sport and he achieved the following major successes for judo:

  • Judo becoming a core sport of the Scottish Institute of Sport
  • Judo becoming a SportScotland Priority 1 sport
  • The rebranding of the governing body as JudoScotland
  • Setting up the National Judo Academy at Ratho

In 1986 he was involved in the discussions resulted in the establishment of the Commonwealth Judo Association and which also led to judo being included in the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand at which he was the Coach and where Scotland got its first judo gold medallist, Loretta Doyle. He has been an enthusiastic member of the CJA Executive Committee since that time and after a number of years as Vice President, was elected as the President in 2013. He has spread the enthusiasm for judo across the Commonwealth and in recent years ensured the Commonwealth Championships were taken to Africa, Asia, North America and Oceania.

Rick was also Vice Chair of the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland for 8 years and was a dogged member of the successful Glasgow 2014 Bid Team. He was a member of Team Selection Panels for a number of Scottish Teams of all sports and his professionalism was much admired as Scottish athletes subsequently performed so well on the international stage.

Even now, at age 71 and after 60 years he is involved promoting judo at club, Scottish and international level in the sport and without volunteers as committed and able as Rick Kenney, we would not be as successful a sport as we have now become – from little acorns….

Apart from judo, Rick has been a tireless supporter of community sport and after moving to the Borders in 2000, became involved in the local sports councils and he set up the Borders Athlete Support Programme (ASP) and the Borders Elite Swim Team (BEST) programmes which have assisted a number of athletes to success at Scottish, UK, international and Olympic level. He is still involved with these groups today and became  Chair of ClubSport Borders in 2011, the umbrella body which assists voluntary sports clubs and individuals across the Borders. Rick has been the Vice Chair of ClubSport Ettrick & Lauderdale for a number of years too. He was the Live Borders Service to Sport Award winner in 2018 and was also given a Lifetime Achievement Award for services to sport in Scotland, UK and the Commonwealth by SEMSA (Scottish Ethnic Minority Sports Association).

Rick recently completed his term as Chair of Scottish ClubSport, which provides National Support for Local Sport, (after some 12 years on the Board of Directors) and has now been elected as the SCS Honorary President.

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