Porter Tom Mawdsley from our South Woodham Ferrers store is setting his sights on more judo glory – including next year's Paralympics in Paris – after picking up a number of trophies.
Twenty-five-year-old Tom, who has Asperger syndrome, recently won gold in the Virtus Oceania Asia games held in Brisbane and silver in the Dutch Open championships in the Netherlands. He took up judo 14 years ago and regularly competes with the GB Adaptive Judo team.
Store manager Olli Gregory says everyone at the store is so proud of Tom's achievements.
He said: "I've been at the store for eight months and Tom was one of the first people I met. I asked him what he did in his spare time and when he told me I was amazed – he's one of the top judo competitors in the country.
"When we found out what Tom had achieved at those games there was an instant sense of pride. He's a big part of the team here and I know that his colleagues on the front-end really look after him. He goes about his job here with determination and does a fantastic job."
Tom is currently recovering after dislocating his knee, but he is hoping to compete in the Virtus Games in Vichy, France, in June.
His dad, Colin, said: "It was a big step for Tom going solo to Australia, especially that distance. I normally travel with him and the team.
"They were out there for 12 days and the won the gold in his category and bronze in the team event.
"Unfortunately when he competed in Holland he dislocated his knee in the team event after he won silver in the morning. Asda has been very helpful and given him lighter duties in store such as being on the tills while he recovers.
"His next big event coming up is the Virtus World Games in France so getting his knee right is so important. He lives and breathes judo and if he's not on the mat doing he's normally watching it on YouTube. He misses it something dreadful at the moment.
"Intellectual Disability Judo currently isn’t included in the Paralympics, but an application has been made to the international Paralympic Committee to be included fully or as a demonstration event in Paris 2024, then fully included in Los Angeles in 2028. Judo is the national sport of France, so we hope there will be a big push for inclusion at Paris Olympics."
Read more about Tom's judo success and career with Asda in this blog post.