Judo started out as an energy outlet and hobby for Sean but after 12 years of dedication, Sean found himself representing Great Britain at the June 2023 Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, and in an incredible match, Sean secured his big win.

20-year-old Sean lives in Scotland with his foster siblings and his Foster Carers, Adam and Lucy. Sean joined Adam and Lucy’s family early into their Swiis fostering journey 13 years ago and it was seeing his other foster siblings training in Judo that encouraged Sean to try the martial art for the first time 12 years ago.

Adam and Lucy shared that Sean was an energetic child, and supported Sean in his Judo aspirations, they said “Sean wanted a lot of rough play and judo was a safe space where he could get squashed and squeezed alongside doing the same to others which met a big need in him. It gave him an outlet for a lot of energy.”

Through his years of hard work and dedication to Judo, training multiple times a week with Castle Douglas Judo Club, Sean progressed and excelled in the martial art and was selected to represent Great Britain the 2023 Special Olympics World Games held in Berlin. The Special Olympics World Games, established in 1997 are regarded the world’s most inclusive sporting events, aiming for greater recognition and participation of people with disabilities within society.  With 7000 athletes competing across 26 participating sports, being selected to compete this year was a monumental and unexpected moment for Sean.

Sean said “I wasn’t expecting to be picked. I was a bit nervous at the Special Olympics- competing in such a big event. I wasn’t expecting to get a gold medal and I was very proud when I did.”

Sean in front of 10 Downing Street
Sean and Adam in front of 10 Downing Street

Sean managed to beat his opponent and end the match in an astonishing 10 seconds, winning the prestigious gold medal in his division.

Adam and Lucy were extremely proud of Sean and his achievement, they said “We couldn’t be prouder. Sean has overcome all sorts of things to achieve this gold medal. Judo has really helped him to become the young man that he is today, and the members of our local clubs have been a great support to him through the years. Judo is a big part of both his and our family life.

“All our children have found it a great sport to be involved with and we currently foster four other children, with some just starting Judo, to others coaching and working towards their black belts.

“We’d encourage all families to have a go, it’s a sport that you can achieve progress in at your own speed, but with perseverance, like Sean, you never know where it can lead!”

On his return from Berlin, Sean certainly did not plan on taking a break from Judo and continued his training, focussing on achieving his black belt and attending the British Judo and VI Open Championships. Sean also aspires to qualify and compete in the 2027 Special Olympics World Games held in Perth, Australia.

For anyone considering pursing martial arts like Judo, Sean advises “It’s worth a try. It helps you with learning, discipline, fitness and making new friends.”

To find out more about becoming a foster carer with Swiis Foster Care Scotland, please visit our website or call 0333 240 9049.