Judo ex­pert dies af­ter a swim

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

A mar­tial arts ex­pert has died sud­denly af­ter go­ing for a swim in the sea.

Martin Clarke ran the East Street sports cen­tre in Sit­ting­bourne and was re­spon­si­ble for train­ing gen­er­a­tions of the town’s young­sters in var­i­ous dis­ci­plines.

The 68-year-old passed away af­ter vis­it­ing Seasalter beach on Satur­day. Emer­gency crews rushed to the scene but he could not be saved.

His son John said: “My dad was well known through­out the world for his love of mar­tial arts. He was an 8th Dan in judo, 6th Dan in Jiu-Jitsu, grand mas­ter in com­bat sombo and sambo wrestling.”

He rep­re­sented Great Bri­tain on many oc­ca­sions, win­ning more than 300 medals and was a mem­ber of the GB Olympic judo squad in 1978, 1979 and 1980, win­ning sil­ver at the world games in 1985.

He also won World Sil­ver medals in Jiu-Jitsu in 1984 and Sambo Wrestling in 1985 and 1998.

In 2008 he was awarded a gold medal for services to In­ter­na­tional Sambo.

The grand­fa­ther leaves a wife, Va­lerie, son John and two daugh­ters Su­san and Donna. He had five grand­chil­dren.

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