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Acclaimed martial artist O'Neil to join Delaware Sports Hall of Fame

Judy O'Neil
Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame

Judith Anderson O’Neil is a nationally recognized martial arts competitor and instructor, holding the highest ranking in martial arts among Delaware women and one of the highest in the country.

O’Neil earned a first-degree black belt in 1978 and is currently a seventh-degree, and she also holds a second-degree black belt in Filipino Modern Arnis. During a 10-year tournament career in sparring and kata (1975-84), she earned second place in 1978 and 1979 in the Martial Arts Rating System National Championships in the Women’s Black Belt Kata division.

She and nine others will be inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame this Thursday night during a ceremony at the Chase Center on the Riverfront.

She is a 1991 inductee into the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame, and the next year she was inducted into the Eastern USA Martial Arts Association Hall of Fame. She was also the National Wonder Woman of the Year by the National Organization for Women in 1979 for community service.

O’Neil helped develop the Dyna-Tots program for preschool children and has conducted self-defense clinics for women. She also produced and starred in a weekly cable television show, “American Karate,” which aired locally for 10 years.

O’Neil coached two varsity sports at the University of Delaware and excelled in a third. As a student, she scored four goals in a 1972 field hockey game to set a record that lasted 37 years. She also coached the Blue Hens’ first varsity women’s lacrosse teams in 1978 and ’79, and as the women’s swimming coach those same years, she led the Hens to 16th place in the Eastern AIAW championships.