On behalf of the Irish Judo Association, previous & current Executive Committees and the judo office, we sent our warmest regards to Lisa Kearney following her announcement to retire from the sport of judo this morning. It has been an incredible journey over the past 20 years as we watched a young judoka transform into an Olympian and we will be forever grateful to her for her wonderful dedication to the sport she has loved since she was a child.

Speaking about her decision to retire, Lisa noted ‘it is with a mixture of sadness and joy that I have made the decision to officially retire from sport. The past 20 years have been an incredible journey and one that was made possible by the people around me. The support I received allowed me to represent my country on the world stage and together we overcame many obstacles along the way. I want to say the most genuine thank you to every single person who supported me and made this journey possible. I hope I was great ambassador in my time as performance athlete, and I hope to take the lessons I have learned to future generations within and beyond sporting circles. We have significantly progressed the opportunities, pathways and standards of Judo in Ireland and NI, and no doubt this will positively impact the lives of many individuals, who will again pay it forward into society. I wish to say a huge thanks to; Sport Northern Ireland, SNI Sports Institute, Sport Ireland and Sport Ireland Institute, the Olympic Council Ireland, the Irish Judo Association, Judo Scotland, Heriot-Watt University and Yamakwai Judo Club for your world class support over the years, and of course my world class coach Ciaran Ward who was with me every step of the way. I am passionate about giving back to society and helping others become their best self, because this is what I have been given. To all our athletes of the future, I wish the very best of luck on their journeys that sport will take them on.’

We wish Lisa the very best for the future and will miss watching her compete, but know that the memories she has given us as our first female judoka to qualify for London 2012 will spur on our emerging athletes in the future. Thank you Lisa for your commitment to Judo.