YOU would be hard pushed to find a connection between digging for coal on your hands and knees in a Burnley pit to becoming a top national judo coach with Olympic and Commonwealth Games experience.

But that is exactly what former miner Brian Moore did.

Burnley-born Moore, who used to dig for coal in Bank Hall and Hapton Valley pits, is now regarded as one of the top judo coaches in the country and will be with the senior team competing in this year's Commonwealth Games.

His involvement in the sport has taken him across the globe and he can even lay claim to coaching an Olympic champion when he was invited to train the Chinese ladies national team for the Barcelona Olympics.

However, up until taking his younger brother Dave to a judo self defence course which was organised by the Miners Welfare, Moore had never been involved with the sport -- and had never been further afield than Blackpool!

That was 32 years ago.

"I took Dave along because it was something organised by the Miners Welfare for the youngsters," recalls Moore who was a miner for 11 years.

"I decided to have a go myself and absolutely loved it. The physical aspect of the sport really appealed to me and all my years of crawling around on my hands and knees down the pit really helped my groundwork.

"I never knew judo and mining could be so closely linked," added Moore who has been a member of Bacup Judo Club since 1968.

"And I used to think Blackpool was the perfect holiday but now I have been all over the world."

Despite being physically fit due to his crawling around under ground, Moore had never really taken to sports.

"Dominoes and Don was about my limit. It was tragic!"

But he certainly made up for lost time and earned his black belt in just 11 months compared to the five years it normally takes a beginning to rise up through the ranks.

Moore went on to make the North West area team but was regarded as too old for the national team after attending trials in Crystal Palace.

"I was gutted not to make the squad but that was because I was too old," says Moore.

"Well, that's my story and I sticking to it!"

But in true fashion, Moore got sweet revenge when he went on to beat two Great Britain team members on his way to the North of England title.

Once he past the ripe old age of 35, Moore went on to compete on the veteran circuit and was crowned British Veteran champion on three occasions.

However, coaching is his main love now.

Moore is coach/manager of an excellent British Cadets team which is only bettered by Russia and Azerbaijan.

But it is with the senior squad he will be concentrating on come the Commonwealth Games -- and he'll be hoping there will be a few familiar faces in the squad.

For Bacup Judo Club members Sophie Cox and Julie Baker have a great chance of making the England team which Moore reckons can win several medals.

"We'll win more medals than any other sport," claims Moore proudly. "It's a tall order but we have a very talented team." Moore's passion and enthusiasm for the sport is hard to put down in words but his desire is stronger now than it ever was.

Now aged 55 and a self employed builder and paid on a part-time basis by the British Judo Association, Moore still has big dreams for the sport "My aim is for Bacup Judo Club to produce an Olympic medallist."

Not as far fetched as it sounds as Bacup have regularly had members in the national set-up ever since Moore joined the fray 11 years ago. "I've seen most of the seven wonders of the world, " said Moore.

"But Bacup Judo Club is the eighth wonder -- but not many people know that yet."