ELLEN HOLDER, 12, has been named ‘National Junior Squad Member of the Year’ by the British Judo Council in a ceremony held at the Belfry in the Midlands.

The same night she was awarded the prestigious international badge after fighting in Belgium at the Ippon Trophy competition which saw several North European countries clash.

Ellen is a committed member of Cirencester Judo Club and has been fighting there for three years.

Competing at numerous competitions across the country, Ellen’s current medal count stands at more than 40, including a recent gold at Southampton. On weekends when she is fighting, she travels from her family’s home in Chelworth, near Crudwell.

She goes to Bath University to train every week as well as taking in National Squad training camps directed by the British Judo Council.

At Stroud High School, Ellen has to balance work and judo. “Going to the Belfry was a fantastic experience and I was surprised and delighted when they chose me” she said. “It can be hard juggling my judo and all my school work, but it’s worth it.”

Ellen will shortly be attending the Sportif international training camp and tournament in Edinburgh.

Getting to competitions around the country involves a lot of driving. Her dad, Andrew Holder, acts as Ellen’s chauffeur. “We clock up thousands of miles per year” he said. “But I’m so proud of her.”