TEENAGER Shelley Ludford has enjoyed a fantastic first year in the judo cadets age band, which culminated as she celebrated her 15th birthday with a silver medal at the British Championships at Sheffield.

This ended a superb 12 months, which also saw the Brighton Hill Community School pupil win four golds and two bronze medals on the Great Britain ranking competitions circuit.

In the British Championships, Ludford won five fights to reach the final in the under 63 kg class for 14 to 18-year-old fighters – where the Basingstoke fighter lost to world bronze medallist Lulu Piovesana, who is three years older.

Ludford said: “I went there not expecting to get a medal, but it was really good to get the silver, especially as it was my birthday. It was a nice way to celebrate.”

Before travelling to the British Championships, Ludford won the Hampshire Closed, London Open, East of England Open and Northern Home Counties titles and picked up bronze medals in the West of England and Heart of England competitions.

Her excellent season has not gone unnoticed as the Brighton Hill fighter finished second in the Great Britain ranking list – and she has been selected for the England’s Talent Development Squad.

She trains three nights a week at the Judo Club Osaka in Aldershot and at Paul Jones Judo Club in Basingstoke on a Saturday.