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Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Friday, 20 August 2010 17:38 UK

Ashley McKenzie is thankful he found judo

Ashley McKenzie
McKenzie won the British Open title earlier this year

Great Britain judo player Ashley McKenzie says that the sport has changed his life for the better.

The 21-year-old won gold at the German European Cup in Hamburg and is part of the British team for the World Championships in Tokyo in September.

"I wasn't the greatest of kids, I was always fighting," McKenzie told BBC London 94.9.

"Now I'm calm, more mellow and look where it's got me - maybe to the 2012 London Olympics."

McKenzie, who won the British Judo Assocation's junior male of the year award in 2009, also expressed his excitement at competing in his home-town Olympics, but remains wary about not being selected.

"Out of all the team, me and Winston Gordon are the only actual Londoners.

If you want to get to a black belt, or you want to become a world champion - know where you're going and reach your target

Ashley McKenzie

"It's really really hard knowing we're the only two and that if we don't make it someone else will take our spaces."

McKenzie, who will compete in the under 60kg category in Tokyo, is one of nine members of the World Championships squad under the age of 23 and feels judo could help many more youngsters improve their lives.

"Kids of today are all into guns and shooting, but it's not really the way is it. It's more about enjoying your life," he added.

"If someone wanted to start judo, I'd say know where you want to go with it. If you want to get to a black belt, or you want to become a world champion - know where you're going and reach your target.

"Go all the way until you reach your target and see how far you get - just like I did."



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see also
Dartford judo trio up for worlds
19 Aug 10 |  Judo
GB judo team announced for Tokyo
11 Aug 10 |  Judo
Olympic Dreams - Ashley McKenzie
11 Jul 08 |  London 2012


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