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Page last updated at 09:27 GMT, Thursday, 19 August 2010 10:27 UK

Dartford judo trio up for world championships

Gemma Howell, Scarlett Woolcock and Kelly Edwards
Howell, Woolcock and Edwards are all based in Dartford

Three members of Dartford's British Judo Performance Institute hope taking part in their first world championships can fuel their Olympic dreams.

Scarlett Woolcock and Gemma Howell, both 20, and Kelly Edwards, 19, have been called up to compete in the event in Tokyo from 9-13 September.

All three are keen on places in the Great Britain squad for London 2012.

Edwards told BBC Radio Kent: "Our coaches remind us if we don't focus now we know we won't go to 2012."

She continued: "It gives us more energy to dig deeper. We're reminded of the Olympics at every session, it's there every day.

"I'm very lucky to be given this opportunity at such a young age. I'm going to take it with both hands, I'm hoping for a good performance at the world championships."

As the youngest (19), shortest (5ft 1ins) and lightest (48kg) member of the squad Edwards admits people are surprised when she tells them she is a judo player.

My long-term goal means everything leads up to 2012. I can't wait for it to come around, it's going to come so fast

Gemma Howell

"I'm quite small and people say 'she can't be good at judo' but that's what makes it such a good sport. We need to get it in the public more and I think 2012 will do that."

Howell, from Shropshire, is also a member at Dartford and added: "I'm very nervous because it's my first world championship but I'm very excited. I know on the day I will be a nervous wreck.

"It's also very good to go to Japan because judo is big in Japan.

"I'm hoping for a medal but so will everyone else who is going there, so I have to do my best on the day."

Like every other member of the squad, the Olympics are the aim for Howell.

She stated: "My long-term goal means everything leads up to 2012. I can't wait for it to come around, it's going to come so fast."

Woolcock competes in the 78kg category and says that although her selection was a surprise to her, it is one she is determined to make the most of.

She said: "I didn't think I was going to be selected for this, my aim was the under-23 European championships so to be selected is a big honour.

"I'm going to go and get experience. I'm fighting outside my weight category, so it's going along, get the experience, and having a good time.

"Obviously I want to aim for a medal or there is no point going, but there is no pressure on me. Hopefully I get a good draw and have a good championships."

She added: "Quite a lot of our aims are short-term. We have to work on getting the rankings for 2012 but our main ambitions are here and now."



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