Edition No. 22. Spring, 2000. Today is
  Nicola Fairbrother Retires!
Nicola FairbrotherAfter an incredible career in Judo, Nicola Fairbrother has decided to retire. She started with me at the age of seven, so I have come to know her quite well during the last twenty-three years. During this period, her C.V. in Judo has been surpassed by very few Judoka in the world.
Her achievements are so numerous it is impossible to mention them all. As her coach, these achievements have given me great pleasure. I remember her first medal, won at a little Mini Mon at St Crispins Sport Centre in Wokingham. This tiny medal has an important place amongst the massive trophy display at her parent's home.
To me her greatest achievement was the World Title won at Hamilton, Canada in 1993. The 1992 Olympic Silver medal in the Barcelona, which came so close to being Britain's first ever Olympic Judo Gold, is a close second. Nik was honoured by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth with the MBE, for her contribution to British Sport.
Four European Titles, 1 junior and 3 senior, shows what an incredibly consistent fighter she has been at the very top level over a long period. In fact, Nik has been British number one in her weight for over a decade.
During 1993, Nik was presented with the European Judoka of the year award; this is an outstanding honour. She has also been presented with the Dame Edith Russell-Smith Vase on two occasions for Women's British Judo Personality of the year. Three times runner up in the Sunday Times Sports Award is another quality recognition.
She has always been a wonderful ambassador for British Judo, popular with all the top people in the world. Many a time I have been with her when Judoka and Coaches from foreign countries will go out of their way to speak with her.
Judo is a sport, which demands incredible mental and physical control if you are to reach the highest level. Nik has not had an easy competitive life and to cope with the many disappointments, over the years, she has developed an amazing strength of character. I am sure this strength will bring her success in whatever career she decides to tackle in the future.
Pinewood has always been her haven and she never missed a chance to advertise the Club. I remember at the World Championships in Canada when the Canadian television wanted to interview her, Nik insisted she should wear the Pinewood T shirt the members has sent out with me. The T.V. people tried to boss her about, saying they did not have time for her to change. Nik said" forget it then" and walked off. Needless to say they came round and Nik was interviewed, the shirt prominently displayed. They probably had a vision of what their boss would have said, when told there was no interview with the British under 56 Kgs World Champion.
Any coach would be pleased to have such a successful athlete under their wing and I am no exception. My system of training seems to have suited her and I have travelled the world on the back of her success. I have seen many places I would not have visited of my own volition and it has expanded my horizons immensely.
Her natural intelligence has always made her easy to coach and it is seldom we have had any real difference of opinion, probably because over the years I have convinced her I am never wrong. I believe Nik has made the decision to retire at the right time, after all an injury you laugh at when eighteen, takes on a whole new meaning twelve years later.
It was back in the summer of 99 that we first discussed the possibility of retirement, but after so many years, you do not rush into such a decision.
I have to say it is with some sadness that I view her departure from the Pinewood Contest Squad. However, she will always be a big part of the Club because she is, and always will be, a great influence on the squad and her successes are depicted everywhere within the Club.
What we have learned together, through the years, I will use to advantage with the new generation of fighters who are just beginning their climb to the top.
So thanks, Nik, for an exceptional 23 years and we all at Pinewood wish you every success in the future; in whatever career you decide to take on.
Don Werner

Thank You

As I retire from judo, I would like to thank some people: Don. My mum and dad. Darren. Everybody at Pinewood. Miriam and my Spanish club. My friends ...
The list does go on. And on. After all I've been doing judo for 22 years and that's 22 years of support and help - therefs a lot of people I would like to thank.
All these people are spearheaded by one person - Don Werner. Don taught me everything I needed to make it all possible and stood by my side through it all. He taught me my judo. He also taught me how to compete; how to win, and he taught me how to accept losing. From when I was 8 until Moscow this year, he has been there for me. Don, it seems insufficient as a word, but THANK YOU.
There are many more people who supported me and in doing so made the winning that much sweeter and the losing that much easier to take. Mum. What can I say? In-exhaustible, she has filled pool sheets out and had her shoulders cried on in stadiums around the world, always believing I could do it. Dad. Thanks for the logic and calmness essential to winning. Darren, for being my involuntary uke for Juji-gatames. (I am now paying dearly for those reckless teenage years when he weighed slightly less than he does today).
To my friends. Friends, who have seen me at my best and worst, my highest and lowest and without whom I wouldn't have got through the bad times nor enjoy the good times. I have made my best friends through judo and thank you all. I won't list you all here, not so much for fear of missing anyone out as I know exactly who you are - but I wouldn't like to put an order to it (!!!)
Thank you to every single fighter and parent at Pinewood. It is the perfect club, as only Pinewood fighters can understand. And thanks must also go to the fighters at the Spanish club where I trained for the last 2 years of my career and to Miriam, who has tried to turn that Silver into Gold, but some things just aren't meant to be.
And the list continues... Ken Kingsbury, Roy Inman, Neil White, Ian Morsman, Alan Porton. Thank you.
Medals are not won by one person, but they are reflection of a lot of hard work from a lot of people. Thank you all, it's been fantastic.

Nicola Fairbrother.


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