Judoka Ebony Drysdale Daley, who was born and is based in Britain, won Jamaica’s first Commonwealth Games medal in judo in history on August 2, 2022. She took the silver medal in the 70-kilogram weight category competition in Birmingham, England.
Drysdale Daley also made history when she became Jamaica’s first-ever competitor from Jamaica to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. It had been her dream to compete in the sport at the Olympics since she was five years old. Unfortunately, she was defeated in her first-round match. At the time, Drysdale Daley was ranked 59th in the world.
Following her defeat at the Olympics, Drysdale Daley expressed her disappointment to the Jamaica Observer, but added that she was happy about all the support she received, saying it was a privilege to represent Jamaica and that the experience would encourage her toward better performances. She said, “I actually want to make it be something to put the stamp on the sports so we can have more Jamaican athletes for judo, to go further, to get more records, and to create that pathway. That is the important thing for me.”
When Szandra Szogedi, Secretary-General of the Jamaica Judo Association, told the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), that Drysdale Daley had qualified for the Olympic Games, the JOA described the moment as “proud and fulfilling,” and Christopher Samuda, the president of the JOA, noted that Drysdale Daley’s qualification represented a “personal victory of courage, commitment, inspiration, and faith, and a nation’s pride.”
Drysdale Daley is of British and Jamaican heritage. Her grandparents on both her mother’s and her father’s side were born in Jamaica, and her father was also born there in St. Thomas. Drysdale Daley attended the University of Wolverhampton and previously competed for Great Britain and was the winner of a junior world silver medal in 2014. She won the senior European Cup in 2016 and also won a silver medal at the European Open in Glasgow. She switched her representation to for the Olympics and has represented Jamaica since 2019; her brother Nicholi has also represented Jamaica in judo.
In 2019, Drysdale Daley competed for Jamaica in judo at the Commonwealth Games Judo Championships, the World Judo Championships, and the 2020 Pan American Senior Championships.
Photo – IJF