Chelise Giles, 23 from Coventry, British junior and senior judo champion who is tipped for great things at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics gives onlysupernews.com an exclusive interview on the hard work she has put in to become the champ and what it's like preparing for the 2020 Olympics.
It was difficult to know where to start when it came to Chelsie because she is so early on in her career yet she has already achieved so much! So we just cut straight to the chase.
Even though Chelsie is Coventry born and raised, she now lives in Walsall due to where she spends most of her time which is at the British Judo Centre of Excellence. She has been based there since the age of 18. 'It's the easiest place for me to be' says Chelsie. 'I live with a friend that also does judo which is really nice. The Centre of Excellence is based on a university site so I used to live on site but I think it became too much judo so I needed my own space!' Giggled Chelsie. To help keep Chelsie on track she has a dietitian, a nutritionist, a phycologist and a lifestyle advisor all of which the Centre of Excellence provides for her. 'That's a lot of the reasons why I came to the Centre of Excellence. It's such a good practice and you've got all the things you really need in once place.' Chelsie said.
Chelsie's education in sport really kicked off when she went to college in Rugby learning of course, judo. She then went on to the Centre of Excellence. 'In September 2019, I started a university course in which I had to do a foundation year first in sports coaching and eventually it will go on to sports and exercise science which is the second year.' Chelsie tells us. 'I think because I've been involved with judo all this time, I never really had a plan after it, so I thought this course would be good for my future. After my course there is a potential I could do a masters in physiotherapy but I haven't really looked in to it in that much detail yet. I have always liked sports, I never really thought judo was the sport I would stick to. I have done lots of things, swimming, dancing and gymnastics but my brother does judo so I used to go along and watch him, until one day, the coach invited me on to the mats and I've just done judo ever since! The coach at the time was Darren Warner who is now a coach of the Wales judo team.'
At a young age Chelsie had to make a decision on the sport she wanted to pursue because there became an unwanted conflict. 'There was a point where I need to make a choice between gymnastics and judo because they were on the same day.' Chelsie recalls. 'Maybe when I was around 13, I had to stop gymnastics. It was never really on my mind to go full time judo but then I got the offer to go full time and it just built from there. It's never been one of those things were I really wanted to go to the Olympics, I just really like judo and thankfully its led me to this place.'
Chelsie already has a very impressive list of medals to her name. A silver in the 2018 Antalya Grand Prix, a bronze in both the 2018 Budapest Grand Prix and the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, a bronze in all three of the 2019 Zagreb Grand Prix, Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and the European Games/Championship in Minsk just to name a few! So where is she setting her sights for the Olympic games 2020? 'I've always said I don't want to go in to it just scraping.' Chelsie states. 'I want to go in to it believing I've got a chance so the aim is to be in the top eight qualified and ultimately Olympic champion but a medal would be great!'
Chelsie is currently ranked 14th in the world so we believe she certainly has a chance!
Chelsie's first major medal was at the European Games in Minsk 2019 where she won bronze. 'My Brother medalled on the same day.' Chelsie remembered. 'I found out just before I went on to fight, one of my coaches told me he won a bronze medal! That was his first European cup medal so I think that made it a bit better for me because I was so happy for him. It made it a really good day.' Chelsie went on to explain a little more about her experience in Minsk. 'Due to it being a European games, it was such a different experience. We don't normally do it (compete) with other sports and as Team GB, so I really enjoyed the experience. Some people have done youth Olympics where its mixed sports but I had never done it. Staying in the Olympic village sort of prepares you for the other Olympics so it was a good year to have it I think.'
Training takes place Monday to Friday for Chelsie with a competition or a camp at weekends. ' Normally we have a randori session every day, a technical session and then either a conditioning or a gym session which is spread out throughout the week.' She said. Chelsie has also started training with National Judo Champion Wayne Lakin at United Gym in Hinckley, Leicestershire on a monthly basis. This followed after British Judo started bringing athletes to Wayne. 'I find being with Wayne really good. It's really hard but I think its something I needed.' Chelsie tells us. 'With me being 52kg, I can't put on too much weight but I like being in the gym so this training is the ideal thing. I feel like I'm training in the gym but I'm also conditioning, so I think this will benefit me and my fitness a lot. A few more people who I train with are also interested in coming along too.'
Chelsie revealed to OSN that over the past 12 months she has found keeping herself motivated quite difficult at times. 'It is hard sometimes.' Chelsie explained. 'The beginning of last year wasn't a great start to the year. When you're going in to competitions and you've had a hard fight and back to back losses, it's hard to come back from it. You have to love it, you have to love the sport or you just couldn't do it. I've been so lucky with injuries compared to some people so I've just got to keep that going. You have to have friends in the environment because sometimes when you are not feeling motivated they boost you up a little bit.' Chelsie continued to tell us about her mindset. 'I knew the Olympic qualifications were coming up. I really wanted to be qualified and because the start of the year wasn't great my mindset started to be like "I'm not going to make it, I really need these results." but then you've just got to forget about the results and think "If I perform well, I can get the results." I think its about changing your mindset and not think about what might happen and focus on what I can do.'
Chelsie flies to Tokyo on the 26th July 2020 to compete at the best level there is. She really strikes OSN as a cool, calm and collected woman who takes her fights in her stride and simply doesn't let the scale of the occasion consume her. Even when she tells us of instances where she's fought in tough fights and the crowd seem to be heavily on the opponents side, she uses that energy as a driving force to spur her on.
We wish her all the luck in the world as she goes on this huge adventure to the 2020 Olympics. OSN will be cheering for her watching on our TV screens. Bring it home Chelsie!
We will catch up with Chelsie again very soon and update you on her progress.
Interested in getting involved with a sport professionally? Chelsie's top tips would be to find a local place where you can train, start young and enjoy what you do!