Irvine Judo Club senior coach Gordon Brawley says he is delighted to have the club back at full training following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

The club were forced to take all their classes online at the start of the year, however, with the easing of restrictions in recent weeks the club’s members are finally back.

Brawley says despite the hot weather last week the club had a reasonable number of returning athletes who he hopes should be ready for competitive action in the coming months.

He said: “We were back to full contact as of last week and despite the hot weather we still got about a dozen children in for the younger class.

“Then we had about 10 at the adult class and they all did really well despite it being so warm.

“We are hoping to have an actual in person grading within the next month.

“We are aiming to have everyone graded again by the end of the August. There has not been much on the competitive front either over the past 18 months, so we are hoping to get everyone back into full training and competitive judo again.

“That will probably not come until later in the year, I would imagine around September or October, as by then we should have members fit and ready to compete again. “

The club will be hoping for a return to competitive action soon as they have a number of talents to keep an eye on with members training with the Scottish and British National Judo Squads.

Grant Blair was training with the British squad just before lockdown and Ross Carswell got picked to train with the Scottish squad.

Brawley says he hopes Blair will return to competitive fitness soon with Carswell focusing on his coaching qualifications for now.

“The competitive side of things was hit in the head for a while but hopefully we will get Blair up to full training again and get him back up to the national squad.

“Carswell is focusing on his coaching certificates just now with Charlie McLean and we are hoping to get them both through that in that in the next few months.

“We are then planning to phase them into the club so the older coaches can phase themselves out of it and bring some younger blood through. “

Alongside the return to training sees the club also return to it’s facilities in Parterre Hall, with the NHS using their facilities for the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine at the start of the year.

Despite only just getting back in Brawley says the doors are open to anyone who needs their hall.

He revealed: “We have a dance class in at the moment and Irvine

Victoria are interested in using it for a night of training.

“So the club is open to having other people using our facilities in the days that the judo is not on."