Bonnie's holding on for new judo heroes to emerge
By chloé GRONOW
SINGING superstar Bonnie Tyler and her Judo champion husband Robert Sullivan proved a hit at a Llanelli judo club. Coach and company director of Seiryoku Zenyo Kwai Judo Club Lisa Thomas arranged a visit from the couple to celebrate a successful first year of opening. Mr Sullivan represented Great Britain at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and holds a third Dan Black Belt. He married best-selling Bonnie a year later, and the couple settled in Mumbles. Lisa hoped the visit would motivate the children to progress even further into the sport.
She said: "Both Rob and Bonnie have worked really hard in their careers and have achieved great success. I hope this will rub off on the children." The visit was a huge success and Lisa said: "The couple were fantastic with the kids and really got involved."
Robert and Bonnie watched the youngsters display their latest martial arts moves, before joining in themselves. "Robert even flipped one of the coaches onto the mats" said Lisa. She added: "Bonnie was very funny and had everyone laughing telling Robert he better not do that to her!"
The couple stayed for a few hours, signing photographs and chatting to everyone there. And one cheeky chappy — Adam, aged 10 — even got Robert to sign his belt. Lisa said the children were not nervous to perform in front of the pair at all, instead they were "confident, happy and pleased" to show off what they had learned.
The visit had a great turn out of friends and parents, who were said to have been slightly more excited than the kids. Lisa said an old friend of Robert, John Bach — who he used to train with — showed up at the club to reminisce.
Robert's geography teacher who taught him more than 50 years ago also made an appearance, which Lisa said was lovely. Both Bonnie and Robert complimented the Judo club on its excellent facilities and brilliant family atmosphere.
Coach Lisa said the sport is an excellent way to improve children's strength and flexibility. "A lot of kids these days don't get enough exercise, so coming to classes like this is a fun way of keeping children fit and healthy," she said. "All our kids are very well behaved and throughout the year, I can see how much their confidence has improved." Lisa set up the club in Llwynhendy after 22 years as a professional competitor, gaining bronze at the Commonwealth Games in 2006.
TAKING HOLD Olivia Jones age 5 attempts to throw Bonnie Tyler at the Seiryoku Zenyo Kwai Judo Club in Trallwm as her husband Robert Sullivan, who represented Britain in Judo in the 1972 Olympics, looks on: