Judoka hits the mat
COREY Smith didn't care that he had an intellectual disability.
He just wanted to learn judo and be treated like everyone else when he first walked into the Murgon dojo in 2007.
Five years later and the Murgon 25-year-old is a multiple medallist in judo tournaments spanning all the way to Europe.
Smith's considerable skills on the mat have seen him represent Australia in two international special needs tournaments held in the Netherlands.
The dedicated judoka won silver medals at the Amsterdam tournament in 2008, and during another tournament in the Netherlands in 2010.
The Australian representative will be heading back to Amsterdam in March to compete in another international tournament.
The Murgon Judo Club student made history in June when he became the first special needs senior male judoka to compete at a Judo Federation Australia National Championship under special needs rules.
Competing against mainstream judo competition is nothing new for Smith as he has been taking on all comers since he first learnt the art.
Murgon Judo Club sensei Stan Munday said he pushed his student to succeed by matching him with mainstream competition.
"We've developed Corey by competing against mainstream people under special needs rules," he said.
"By having Corey compete in mainstream it's been a huge advantage as it pushes him to his limits.
"It's made him a better fighter by far."
Munday said mainstream fighters were told not to lower their standards when facing Smith.
"They're told not to take it easy on him and the reason they're told this is he's that good," he said.
Smith hopes to one day compete at the Paralympics and identified the traits that make him such a successful judoka.
"I'd say my effort and discipline to win and having a will to win, as I'm a pretty competitive person," he said.
"All the people I've fought have commented on how technical I've been."
Smith relished competing against mainstream competition as he wanted to fight on his own merits.
"I just want to be like everyone else and I couldn't have asked for any more from my competitors," he said.
The talented judoka loved winning his numerous medals in state and international competition, but had a clear highlight when it came to his short, but extensive judo career.
"What I think is most important is the mateship which comes from judo," he said.
"That and going to Amsterdam has been the highlight for me."