I started doing judo when I was 6. You’re not meant to compete until you’re eight but I managed to sneak into a tournament when I was 7 and a half. I remember little bits and pieces of the tournament; I came home with a medal so that was quite a nice start to competing. I still get the same excitement and enjoyment out of judo now as I did when I was a 7-year-old.
When I was younger, I remember being generally excited about the Commonwealth and Olympic Games. I’ve got a younger brother and we used to go haring up and down the road pretending we were doing the 100m or whatever, it’s one of the great things international sporting events bring, excitement for the kids. You never at that type of age genuinely believe that you’ll be in that position but it’s something you dream about or tell people that’s what you want to do.
Olympic Games are the pinnacle of my sport. I was lucky enough to compete at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 which was amazing. It’s the biggest sporting event on earth and having the opportunity to represent my country was something I’ll never forget. However, this one is going to be even bigger. Competing at an Olympics in front of my family and friends is everything I’d been dreaming about since I was a kid.
You can really feel the excitement building with less than 100 days to go but I’m just concentrating on getting myself prepared as best I can to compete to the best of my ability on what will be the biggest day of my life.
The days leading up to major competitions are usually filled with cutting weight. I’ll be doing little bits of training and keeping active, trying not to eat a huge amount. The day before my competition will be about cutting a bit of fluid weight as well. I’ll get into a ‘sweat suit’ and do a movement and gymnastic session that will last for about 45 minutes. I’ll be focused and relaxed, not getting too worked up about the event but keeping in mind that this is the biggest event in your lifetime coming up.
My goal? To be on the top of the rostrum in London, Olympic champion. For me there’s no point working your whole life for something to go and try to win a bronze medal. I know that I can beat every single player in the world at my weight, so I can be Olympic Champion. I’m not saying that it’s guaranteed to happen because there are no guarantees in sport and there certainly aren’t any in judo but I’m not going there to make up the numbers.
What does it meant to have judo in the Games in 2014? It’s a really big deal for us in Scottish Judo because we hardly ever get to compete for Scotland. When you’re a lot younger you compete for Scotland a little bit but as soon as you get into juniors and seniors it’s always Great Britain you’re competing for. To wear that Scottish kit at Glasgow 2014 is really exciting for us here. It’s a chance for judo to demonstrate to the country the strength and depth we have in the sport here in Scotland.
I’d love to be there competing but it’s something I’d need to decide closer to the time. When you’re competing in an Olympic sport you work to four-year cycles but after the Olympics I’ll be looking at things year after year. Glasgow 2014 is two years away but it’s certainly not something I’d rule out, continuing to Glasgow.
Right now, it’s all about the Olympic Games. I’ve been fighting for 25 years and it’s all coming down to those fights in that venue to get that gold medal. It’s what I’ve been working for my whole life.