Neil Adams (judoka)

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Neil Adams
9th Dan, MBE
London 2012 - Neil Adams crop.jpg
Adams at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Personal information
Birth nameNeil Adrian Adams
NationalityBritish (English)
Born (1958-09-27) 27 September 1958 (age 63)
Rugby, Warwickshire
Height5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight12 st 3 lb (78 kg)
Country Great Britain
Rank9th dan

Neil Adrian Adams, MBE (born 27 September 1958 in Rugby, Warwickshire) is an English judoka who won numerous Olympic and World Championship medals in judo representing Great Britain.[1]

Early life[edit]

Adams was educated at Myton School in Warwick. Adams' brother was the late professional wrestling star Chris Adams, who himself had a successful career in judo before turning to pro wrestling in 1978.

Judo competition career[edit]

Adams was the first British male to win a World title, and the first British male to simultaneously hold a world title and a European title. Other achievements include a gold medal at the 1981 World Judo Championships in Maastricht, the Netherlands, plus silver medals in the 1980 and 1984 Summer Olympic Games and the 1983 Judo World Championships. Adams was also five-time European Champion. He is also a two times champion of Great Britain, winning lightweight and half-middleweight divisions at the British Judo Championships in 1976 and 1988.[2]

On 18 December 2018 he was promoted by the International Judo Federation to kudan - 9th Dan at the age of 60. He was presented with his certificate of grade (at the Paris Grand Slam tournament) on 10 February 2019 by the federation's president, Marius Vizer.

Coaching career[edit]

Since retiring, Adams has run a coach education business called Neil Adams Effective Fighting, as well as teaching Judo around the world.

He was national coach of VJF judo in Belgium. He then became head coach of the Welsh Judo Association, a position he took on after being asked to take up the role by close friend and chairman of the association Keven Williams, a position he resigned in March 2009.[3]

Personal life[edit]

In the 1980s been engaged to British Olympic swimming star Sharron Davies.

Adams married Alison Walker of Burford, and together had a son but hey divorced in 2000.

He met former Canadian Olympic Judoka Niki Jenkins at the Sydney Olympic Games and were married in 2002. The couple have two daughters, Brooke and Taylor, and live in Rugby.


  • (1986) "Olympic Judo: Throwing Techniques" Pelham (with Cyril Carter)
  • (1986) "Olympic Judo: Variations on Groundwork" Pelham (with Cyril Carter)
  • (1988) "Olympic Judo: Preparation and Training" Pelham (with Cyril Carter)
  • (1991) "Tai-otoshi" Judo Masterclass Techniques Ippon Books
  • (1991) "Arm Locks" Judo Masterclass Techniques Ippon Books
  • (1991) "Grips" Judo Masterclass Techniques Ippon Books
  • (2016) "A Game of Throws – celebrating 50 years in Judo" Fox Spirit Books

In popular culture[edit]

Adams was so fondly regarded in Japan that he was given the nickname Happo Bigin (Everyone's friend).[4]

A canine version of Neil Adams made a 'guest appearance' in episode 44 of the online comic series Dog Judo[5]

On 2 December 1983, he was one of the guests on the U.K. children's programme "Crackerjack (TV series)" together with Lynsey de Paul and Kim Wilde.[6]

Adams was also a contestant on the BBC TV series "The Adventure Game" in 1983

He is now a commentator for the IJF.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Neil Adams profile". Judo Inside. Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  2. ^ "British Championships - Event results". Judo Inside. Retrieved 18 August 2022.
  3. ^ (6 October 2009), British Judo legend Neil Adams MBE, archived from the original on 13 July 2011, retrieved 3 November 2009
  4. ^ Judo Heroes – 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games website
  5. ^ Dog Judo site
  6. ^ ""Crackerjack!" Episode #28.10 (TV Episode 1983) - IMDb".
  7. ^ "Bionic Commentator: Neil Adams".

External links[edit]