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ON Sporting Champions 2022

Did you see Judo Champion Gemma Howell (Class of 2008) fighting at the 2022 Commonwealth Games? It has been a great few months for Gemma and for a couple of talented ON hockey players too!
2 Sep 2022
Written by Caroline Cheal
ON Gemma Howell (left) secures Silver at the 2022 Commonwealth Games
ON Gemma Howell (left) secures Silver at the 2022 Commonwealth Games

It's been great to see some of our ONs competing in some big sporting events over the Summer of 2022, including Class of 2008 ON and Judo Champion Gemma Howell.

Gemma won Gold at the European Judo Championships in Sofia in April 2022 and then just a couple of months later went on to win Silver at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Gemma has also competed at the London and Tokyo Olympic Games and has famously battled back from multiple injuries to be where she is today. In the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games,  ITV Central Reporter Mark Kielesz-Levine interviewed Gemma and says her story "genuinely left me astounded". Mark's piece on Gemma can be read here: The following extract reveals just how tough a journey Gemma has had.

ITV Central Reporter Mark Kielesz-Levine

"All athletes accept they will, in the pursuit of glory, get injured - sometimes badly. But there is also an expectation that big setbacks don't tend to happen more than once or twice in a career. For Gemma, the level of her injuries has been off the scale.

"The judoka, who's from Stafford, has had 10 major operations and her injury rap sheet reads like a who's who of a sportsperson's worst nightmare:

Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (both knees)

Medial collateral ligament reconstruction (both knees)

Bucket handle cartilage tear (both knees)

Elbow dislocation

Bulging neck disc

Knee infection (risk of amputation)

Two stress fractures


Broken wrist

And many more minor ailments and knocks.

"Just to put this into perspective, this could easily have been the description of a Rugby player's injuries and, if this were a footballer, the first two on that list would be enough to consider immediate retirement such is the length of recovery. "

Huge congratulations Gemma.

Hockey News

Brother and sister ONs Callum Mackenzie (Class of 2017) and Lorna Mackenzie (Class of 2019) have also had some great successes on the hockey field with Callum representing Scotland at the Commonwealth Games whilst Lorna competed in the European Junior Championships in Belgium as part of the England hockey squad. Earlier in the year, Lorna had played for England at the Junior Women’s World Cup. The squad was the youngest England side to play in the tournament and went on to make history with a victory over India and the first-ever medal (bronze) for England. Following this, Lorna was one of three of the players from the squad to be awarded a place in the full senior squad for the FIH Hockey Pro League games away to USA. We loved seeing Callum and Lorna's hockey skills at school and it's great to see them going from strength to strength. 



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