The Skye is the limit for young Skye Westwood as she wins gold at the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi

Skye and Trevor Westwood at the Championships in Abu Dhabi
Skye and Trevor Westwood at the Championships in Abu Dhabi

Not content with being, British, European and World intellectual disability Judo champion, Skye Westwood, just 17 years old has taken on and proved herself to be the best in the Judo business at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.

Skye Westwood practices Judo at Rush Judo in Berkhamsted, and has been practicing for ten years, since she was seven years old.

Skye collects her gold medal

Skye collects her gold medal

She is autistic and has moderate learning disabilities, and competes in adaptive judo. She currently attends Harding House in Aylesbury.

She was part of a team of 127 which formed the British Special Olympics team which competed at the Special Olympics World Games

Skye's dad Trevor used to practice Judo, and encouraged Skye to take up the practice as an opportunity to build her social skills.

Trevor said: "I'm so proud of her, I'm always proud of her but this was an incredibly special moment. She has worked very hard to get where she is, and it's just brilliant to see her being rewarded.

"When she found out about the games, she was incredibly focused, when she knows what she wants to do she just goes for it.

"It was a fantastic experience for the young people to be out in the United Arab Emirates, competing against the best in their respective disciplines. They were looked after really well and put up in a five star hotel.

Skye is currently on a senior brown belt, but is now looking to get her black belt.

This follows an amazing series of successes in Skye's career.

She was crowned British and World champion in 2017, European Champion in 2018 and followed this up with a Special Olympic Gold in 2019.

Skye trains at Rush Judo, who run an 'adaptive judo' night, which caters to all people with a disability and allows them to compete.

Matt Rush, who runs the sessions: "She's an inspiration and role model to us all, especial to other special educational needs youngsters at the club.

"Shes a very high profile player, shes very popular across the local judo clubs, well known for being friendly and bubbly and I'm thrilled for her success. Everyone is so proud of her.

"We're always looking for financial support because it's self funded, we have to support carers too. If you'd like to donate please visit: http://www.rushjudo.co.uk/contactus.html

"I'm part of the British team so I went to the worlds and Europeans with her, it's given her loads of opportunities, Sweden later this year for the European Games, European Championships back in Cologne, she's been selected.

"Adaptive Judo is for a range of abilities, from autistic kids, kids with downs syndrome, cerebral palzy, whatever disability you have come down and get involved, its been going for three years. The Adult class has been going on for ten years and hopefully there will be a few blackbelts this year.

"20 students, 20 young people are involved so it's an inclusive club but we can cater for more, we have three volunteers and a great community feel.

If you're interested in getting involved, visit: https://www.facebook.com/Rushjudo/

Trevor added: "It's an amazing thing, she's made so many friends through Judo, it's added to her confidence levels, shes been out to do radio interviews, she's been on the television, and given her some amazing opportunities, some once in a lifetime stuff.

"She's become much more sociable, being autistic she will only be sociable for so long before enjoying her own space and time. She's come out of her shell and it's made a huge difference in her life.

"She's loving life, and Judo has really helped. I hope people can read this story and be inspired by Skye, she's amazing and we all love her to bits.

Looking to the future, Skye said she would love to compete in a Paralympics but they don't currently have an intellectual disability category.

But this might be a possibility for the future as the Paralympic games develops, so watch this space.