Martial arts star Tom ranked top in Britain

A Ripon Grammar School martial arts star has been ranked number one in Britain.

Teenager Tom Deniz sits at the top of the latest British Judo rankings for U18s fighting at under 66kg.

This comes after a series of successes both at home and abroad in prestigious competitions.

At the prestigious English Open Judo Championships in London earlier this year, where he was up against 40 of the best competitors in the UK, Tom secured dominant wins in all his contests to clinch gold and the English Open Champion crown.

He went on to represent Great Britain U18s in Italy, Spain and Germany and was also selected to represent Team GB at the European Cup in Porec, Croatia.

Although only 17 years old, he will be competing for the GB U21 team in Lithuania at the end of May.

The sixth form student, who lives in a village between Harrogate and York, is studying for A-levels in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry and hopes to study astrophysics or engineering at university.

A former York City Baths Club swimmer, York rugby player and keen runner, he followed his father into judo, taking it up when he was just six years old.

He achieved his first dan black belt before his 16th birthday, which is a rare achievement, and trains with Neil Fletcher, vice-president of British Judo, at Pudsey Judo Club in Leeds three evenings a week.

Tom holds the distinction of winning national medals every year outside Covid, dating back to 2017, including the British U12, English Open Judo and Northern Ireland Open championships titles, all in 2018.

Since September 2023, he has won silver at the Welsh Open and gold at the Scottish Open and English Open championships.

His ambitions are to continue to represent Great Britain over the coming years at major international games, alongside his A-level and university studies.

He’s inspired by Olympic champions Teddy Riner and Tadahiro Nomura, the only judo player to win three individual Olympic gold medals in a row.

“I love judo because of the thrill of winning and the adrenaline of being in direct physical competition,” he explains.

“I love to work out my opponents and devise strategies to beat them, while developing new throws and techniques.”