Wigan judo ace tackles rowing challenge for hospice

An athlete who represents his country took on an epic physical ordeal to support one of the borough's leading charities.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 12:02 pm
Connah Anders

Connah Anders, from Hindley, covered 22 miles on a rowing machine in his dining room to help Wigan and Leigh Hospice (WLH).

The 25-year-old took on the challenge, which was the equivalent distance of crossing the English Channel, as the Hindley-based charity looked after his grandad Alan Davies.

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Connah Anders with his grandad Alan Davies

Connah, who is a blind athlete in the Great Britain judo squad, did the challenge on Wednesday (May 5).

He said: “My granddad was in the hospice last year for a couple of days before he died. Before that he had help at home from hospice nurses.

“I was in Georgia training at the time he was on the ward so I asked my mum a lot of questions about what was happening.

"She told me what help he was getting, how he had his own bedroom and patio doors and I realised they were doing a lot.

“During the pandemic I haven’t been able to train because it’s a contact sport and now I want to get fit so I can hopefully restart my judo training.

“I also wanted to do some fund-raising so I decided to put the two together.”

Connah trains at the British Judo Centre of Excellence in Walsall in the West Midlands from Monday to Thursday and also is a student at the nearby university campus which is part of the University of Wolverhampton.

He studies strength and conditioning, which he describes as a kind of highly-skilled personal training.

However, he did just a few weeks of training ahead of the charity rowing event to make it all the tougher for himself.

“I wanted to push myself to do something I haven’t done before,” he said.

“I got a rowing machine off my parents at Christmas and wanted to do something with a difference so I picked a distance of rowing the equivalent of the English Channel at random.

“I’ve not given myself a massive training window because I want it to be difficult.

“I know if I’d given myself six months to train it wouldn’t be a challenge so I’ve given myself a few weeks to get used to it and straight away it’s a massive challenge.”

Speaking before the event, Connah expected the challenge to take around four and a half hours and was hoping to livestream his efforts.

Connah announced his challenge on social media and it immediately struck a chord, with £500 in donations pouring in on the first day. He is now up to more than £800.

He added: “My grandad was funny, he always helped me and he was interested in knowing what I was doing.

“He lived across the road so I saw him all the time growing up.

“I wanted the funds to go to a charity that I know does a lot of good stuff and I thought after what happened with grandad I wanted to help the hospice.”

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