The event takes place on 16th and 17th February in Sheffield. Over 6,000 students across eight sports will participate. The sports featured will include: Indoor Athletics, Long Course Swimming, Fencing, Karate, Judo, Climbing, Rifle and Badminton. Laetitia will compete in the Judo Championships alongside the best sportspersons from top British universities, such as Oxford, Manchester, Glasgow and South Wales. The competitors will be split into groups according to their grade and only the brown belt and above fighters will participate in the European Judo Championships in Zagreb this summer.
She took time out of her studies and competition preparation to share more about the event with us:
What is your background and did you develop your passion to become a Judoka?
I am French and I have lived there for my whole life. I started judo when I was around 10 because my father encouraged me to. I really liked the sport because it was an amazing way for me to externalise my feelings, and also because I created real bonds with my coaches and the other fighters. I started training at the ACBB, one of the most famous French judo clubs, and I never stopped. I received my Black Belt last year. I have been competing for five years now, and this year I won the London Area Colleges and Universities Junior Open. I was also shortlisted to participate at the French National Championships. In April this year, I will be taking part in an international team competition in New York.
How do you keep up with the training whilst being a full-time student?
Studying and training at the same time requires organisation. It is mostly a question of priorities: every week I have to balance studies, exams and competitions. I have to make compromises in order to make the most out of both my student and athletic life, and I must admit the most difficult one is finding time to sleep!
What are your views on this competition against students from top universities in the UK? Is the belonging to a particular university relevant to your skills in sport?
This competition is the highlight of the year for many sport student societies at the top UK universities. Some students do benefit from more facilities but I believe that what really matters here is one’s motivation.
What is the most important quality for you when it comes to being a chamption athlete and full-time student?
I am really driven in life by the judo moral code, but I am also a fervent believer in hard work. I think that if one is determined enough, it will lead him/her to some kind of success.
In addition to Laetitia’s engagement in studies and sport, she has joined two of the School’s student societies. She is a member of Call ON’U, the diplomacy association of ESCP, whose goal is to prepare students to take part in the National Model United Nations conference, at which they will be representing a country in various committees playing the role of UN delegates. Laetitia will be travelling to New York with fellow students in March this year to represent Brazil. She is also a member of the Cheer up! a student society, which organises visits in hospitals for young cancer patients, makes their projects come true, and organises events to raise funds and raise awareness on diverse issues.
We wish Laetitia all the best for the competition!