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Congratulations to Dale Keogh and Heather Kschammer for Recognition as JA Life Members

Judo Australia is pleased to congratulate Dale Keogh (NSW) and Heather Kschammer (SA) on their Life Membership of Judo Australia.

Dale Keogh is an icon of the sport of Judo, a stalwart of Budokan Judo Club and a flawless role model.

Close up image of judo leader Dale Keogh in white gi.

She began her judoka journey in 1956 and in just nine years she had earned her 1st Dan Black Belt in 1965. Nearly four decades later, Dale earned her 6th Dan Black Belt, a testament to her dedication and love of judo.

In 1969, she established Castle Hill Judo Club in NSW, a precursor to the Budokan Judo Club Inc., and over the course of the past half century, Dale has remained actively engaged in the sport.

As a student, she studied Judo in Japan, the birthplace of Judo, which has given her an unsurpassable breadth and depth of knowledge of the sport. As a competitor, she became a 10-time World Masters Champion in Shiai and Kata events between 1994 - 2012. As a coach, she has mentored countless athletes, attended the Nationals and each of the interstate Open competitions, supporting and developing club athletes competing in Queensland, Victoria and the ACT.

As recognition of her efforts to judo in the NSW community, Dale was awarded life membership of Judo NSW in 2005.

In 2018, Judo Australia appointed Dale to the Oceania Judo Union Kata Commission and the National Grades Commission and her significant contribution to community sport was recognised by Senator Richard Colbeck, Minister for Sport in his Highlight a Hero series and by Sport NSW with a Distinguished Service Award in 2021.

Her commitment to, and energy for Judo for over 60 years is incomparable in the Judo community and she is both highly respected and adored by all. Congratulations Dale.


Heather Kschammer has been a trailblazer for women in refereeing in the sport of judo.

She first stepped on the tatami in 1964 at the age of 16 and became a well rounded judoka, representing South Australia in numerous events, as well as, competing at an Oceania event in Rotorua, New Zealand in 1975.

However, it was an outdated comment that Heather heard which set her out on a judoka journey as a referee and would ultimately pave the way for future generations of female referees in Australia.

In 1973, Heather was listening to a local radio broadcast when the host commented that women could not referee men’s sport. Determined to prove that trope wrong, she began refereeing at local tournaments and in 1978 she received her State “A” referee’s licence in South Australia.

In 1979 she refereed at the Junior Nationals and made history by became the first female in Australia to obtain her National A referee’s licence. The following year at the 1980 Judo Nationals in Adelaide, she made history again, becoming the first female to referee a Senior Men's Final match. This accomplishment helped springboard her into refereeing at Pacific Rim Events in Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Samoa and Fiji.

As her international experience grew, she was awarded her IJF B refereeing licence and not long after that accomplishment, she was awarded her IJF A refereeing licence, becoming the first Australian woman to obtain this level of recognition and one of only seven female referees in the world at that time.

Over the course of her refereeing career, Heather has refereed at the Australian National Titles competitions for 25 years and at a State level for 30 years. She was previously the Chairperson and member of the National Referees Committee, Chairperson and member of the State Referees Committee as well as being a member of the Oceania Judo Union Referee Commission.

A judoka journey that has defied a stereotype, changed the culture and blazed a trail for women in the sport of judo. Congratulations Heather.


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