Anthony Clarke (judoka)

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Anthony Clarke
150600 - Anthony Clarke - 3a - 2000 Sydney media guide scan.jpg
Anthony Clarke photographed by the Australian Paralympic Committee in preparation for the 2000 Summer Paralympic Games in Sydney.
Personal information
Full name Anthony Laurence Clarke
Nickname(s) Tony
National team  Australia
Born 19 June 1961
Adelaide, South Australia
Residence Windsor Gardens, Adelaide
Occupation
Agent Onya Soapbox, Ballarat, Victoria
Other interests Music
Website http://www.anthonyclarke.net.au
Sport
Sport Judo
Disability Visual Impairment
Disability class B1
Achievements and titles
Paralympic finals 2000 Sydney Paralympics: Round of 16; 2004 Athens Paralympics: Repechage Semi-final; 2008 Beijing Paralympics: Repechage Quarter-final
Highest world ranking 1

Anthony "Tony"[1] Laurence Clarke, OAM[2] (19 June 1961), is the only Australian Paralympic judoka gold medallist.[3] He represented Australia at five Summer Paralympic Games[4] and medalled at the 1993 Australian National Judo Championships competing against sighted opponents.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Clarke was born in Adelaide, South Australia on 19 June 1961[3] and was raised in Kilburn, Adelaide. He began drinking at age 14 and moved out of home the following year to work as a "sanitation engineer". His judo coach and mentor Michael Headland perceived "a life which was not going to amount to anything".[1]

In 1978 Clarke lost control of the wheel of his car and drove it into a Stobie pole.[6] He later recalled watching his hands fill with blood until he passed out. When he regained consciousness he was blind and his mother, Marjorie, had permitted the surgical removal of his left eye. In 2004 she recounted to ABC Television presenter George Negus, "the doctor said, 'you'd be a good advertisement for don't drink and drive'".

Clarke learned braille and computer skills using screen-reading technology, and spent two and a half years hitch-hiking across Australia and New Zealand, ensuring "the dog is well visible to get a sympathy lift."[1]

Clarke is also a musician and has performed with a banjo and a mouth organ on James Place near Rundle Mall, Adelaide, every day for 15 years.[7] In April 2016 Clarke reported to the police he had been repeatedly targeted by a thief[8] later identified as Anastasia Dokas, 64. He explained that she gained his trust by giving him food, and that as he placed it down, she would take the money from his banjo case. Dokas denies the allegations, however her counsel recommends her case be referred to a mental health court diversion program.[9]

Career[edit]

In 1993 Clarke achieved his first career win against a sighted opponent at the Australian National Judo Championships. He secured a place in the Under 95 kg semi-final, a first for blind judo competitors, and was awarded a bronze medal.[10]

This has surprised a few of those knockers, I'll tell you. I've won gold and silver in the South Australian championships, against sighted people before, but I'm messing with the big boys now, and I'm thrilled to bits.

Anthony Clarke, on receiving a bronze medal at the 1993 Australian National Judo Championships, The Age

Four years after judo was introduced to the Summer Paralympic Games, Clarke represented Australia in the Men's Up To 78kg event at the 1992 Summer Paralympics in Barcelona.[4] He was the first of two Australian judoka to compete at the Games[11] (the other was Desiree Allan).[12] He lost to Brett Lewis (USA), Joel Gichtenaere (FRA) and Javier Sainz (ESP) by ippon, waza-ari and koka in the Group A preliminaries.[13]

Tony's Barcelona Olympic was bitterly disappointing for him. He was really upset with the way that he fought and he was going to spend the next four years making sure that that didn't happen again. When he got to Atlanta, it didn't happen again. He fought fiercely like a tiger and actually won that event. So he got the gold medal.

Michael Headland (coach), George Negus Tonight

At the 1996 Summer Paralympics in Atlanta, Clarke received a gold medal in the Men's Up To 95kg event,[4] becoming the first Australian Paralympic competitor to medal in judo.[3] He defeated Arlindo Tinoco (BRA) by ippon in the quarter-final, Fermin Campos Ariza (ESP) by yuko in the semi-final, and Run Ming Men (CHN) by ippon in the final.[14]

 Anthony Clarke and Fermin Campos Ariza competing in the Men's Up To 95kg semi-final at the 1996 Summer Paralympic Games in Atlanta.
Anthony Clarke and Fermin Campos Ariza competing in the Men's Up To 95kg semi-final at the 1996 Summer Paralympic Games in Atlanta.

Between 1996 and 2000, Clarke held a scholarship with the Australian Institute of Sport.[15] He was an official torch bearer at the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Sydney in 2000 and competed in the Men's Up To 90kg event. He was defeated by ippon in the 1/8 final by Ian Rose (GBR).[16]

At the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Clarke competed in the Men's Up To 90kg event, but was defeated by Oleg Kretsul (RUS) by ippon in the quarter-final.[17]

In December 2006 Clarke accused the Oceania Judo Union of violating the Disability Discrimination Act (1975) by excluding him from its 2005 World Tournament and effectively costing him his place in the 2008 Australian Olympic team. He sought from the Federal Magistrates Court $31,440 (AUD) in compensation.[18] The application was discontinued following mediation and a confidential settlement.[19]

At the 2008 Summer Paralympic Games in Beijing, Oleg Kretsul (RUS) again defeated Clarke by ippon in the quarter-final of the Men's Up To 90kg event.[20]

He retired in 2008.[21]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Negus, George (9 August 2004). "Anthony Clarke". George Negus Tonight (Transcript). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  2. ^ "Anthony Laurence Clarke". It's an Honour: Australia Celebrating Australians. Australian Government. 27 April 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Beijing 2008 (PDF). Media Guide. Sydney: Australian Paralympic Committee. 2008. p. 80. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c "Anthony Clarke". Historical Results Database. International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  5. ^ Williamson, Brett (4 May 2010). "Weightlifting and power tools in the dark". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  6. ^ "Meeting 3932 - 11 November 2014" (PDF). The Unley Rotarian. Rotary Club of Unley. 11 November 2014. p. 1. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  7. ^ Williamson, Brett (5 April 2016). "Adelaide mall blind busker targeted repeatedly by female thief". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  8. ^ Williamson, Brett (5 April 2016). "Adelaide mall blind busker targeted repeatedly by female thief". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  9. ^ Fewster, Sean (8 June 2016). "Anastasia Dokas denies stealing busking money from Paralympian judo champion Anthony Clarke". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  10. ^ "Judo expert silences his critics". The Age. 10 May 1993. Retrieved 8 June 2016 – via Canberra Times. 
  11. ^ Beijing 2008 (PDF). Media Guide. Sydney: Australian Paralympic Committee. 2008. p. 79. 
  12. ^ Athens 2004 (PDF). Media Guide. Sydney: Australian Paralympic Committee. 2004. p. 53. 
  13. ^ "Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games - Judo - Men's Up To 78 kg". Historical Results Database. International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  14. ^ "Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games - Judo - Men's Up To 95 kg". Historical Results Database. International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  15. ^ Nihill, Grant (2006). Australian Institute of Sport: Celebrating Excellence. Bondi Junction: Focus. p. 107. 
  16. ^ "Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games - Judo - Men's Up To 90 kg". Historical Results Database. International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  17. ^ "Athens 2004 Paralympic Games - Judo - Men's Up To 90 kg". Historical Results Database. International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  18. ^ Fewster, Sean (13 March 2007). "Blind judo champion takes on sport". The Advertiser. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  19. ^ 2006 - 2007 (PDF). Annual Report. Sydney: Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. 2007. p. 88. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  20. ^ "Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games - Judo - Men's Up To 90 kg". Historical Results Database. International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  21. ^ "Judo champ Clarke bows out". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 9 September 2008. Retrieved 8 June 2016.