1992 Olympic champion Miriam Blasco (ESP) and silver medallist Nik Fairbrother (GBR) are getting ready to follow in some of the footsteps of Sabrina Filzmoser (AUT) and the Forever Everest project. Beginning in October they will trek to Everest Base Camp and on the way they will stop at Everest Judo Club at an altitude of nearly 4000m to hold judo classes and give the children a special edition of the Koka Kids book ‘Everest Judo Club.’

Nik said, “We've decided to take on the challenge of trekking to Everest Base Camp. Miriam and I are going to be surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the world's tallest mountains but what makes this journey even more special for us, is that along the way, we will be stopping at Everest Judo Club. It’s the highest judo club in the world, located half way up the world’s tallest mountain. It’s quite unbelievable how it has been built. Judo mats were flown in by helicopters and then carried by Sherpas to reach the high altitudes!"

A helicopter above Khumjung.

"We found out about the judo club through the Austrian Olympian, Sabrina Filzmoser; around the time we were planning our trek to EBC, Sabrina was attempting to summit Everest. We’d been following her journey and it was totally inspirational! It wasn’t only that she successfully summited Everest but was also about the work Sabrina has been doing in Nepal to develop judo."

Sabrina with Kazi Sherpa and members of Everest Judo Club in Jorsale, Nepal, in May 2022.

"Sabrina inspired us. It made us think, ‘What can we do? How can we help?’ We knew we could hold judo classes on the way through but we also wanted to take something special out to give the children at the judo club. We decided to create a specially designed Koka Kids book that we hope will inspire the children and motivate them with their judo. It was an obvious way to help. Books always inspired me when I was younger and it’s my hope this book will do the same for the young judoka in Nepal. We have created an illustrated book that tells the remarkable story of Everest Judo Club. The book will also promote Olympic and judo values."

"A copy will be given to each child at the club. We will take the books with us as we visit the different dojos. The first stop on our journey will be at Monjo, a primary school located at an altitude of 2850m where the children are taught by Kazi Sherpa, the coach of Everest Judo Club.

Continuing on the trek, we will then make a second stop at the Khumjung dojo, situated at an even higher altitude of nearly 4000m. There we will, lungs permitting, once again hold judo classes and give out more books. And then if all is going well, we will then continue to Everest Base Camp at 5364m before retracing our steps home."

"Everest Judo Club, led by Kazi Sherpa and his team, is making a truly remarkable impact on the local community. The number of children doing judo in this remote region has grown from six to almost one hundred. The club now boasts three black belts and these older students are helping the younger children learn. Scholarships allow the children to travel to Kathmandu to take their first belt exams.

Everest Judo Club is a real example of how judo values help people and how judo is changing lives.”

The book is also on sale, the publishing of which has been supported by the World Olympians Association and GB Olympians, who have funded the printing of the books through their Service to Society grant scheme. All the proceeds go to Everest Judo Club. However, the KokaKids website is only set up for UK delivery, so for anyone would like to order it is best to contact Nik Fairbrother directly:

[email protected]

There are also just 10 signed copies, autographed by Miriam and Nik, also available via direct email. These will go to those offering the highest donations.

Nik and Miriam in Nepal in 2019.

Nik and Miriam begin their expedition next month and we look forward to hearing all the news as their journey unfolds.

See also