Sarah Clark

Date: 10/01/2014

Eleven times British Champion Judo player Sarah Clark brought home Commonwealth silver for Team Scotland in Manchester 2002. She is now looking forward to Glasgow 2014 and hopes to be part of the Games in a big way.

At 18 years old, Sarah Clark came to Scotland for one week as part of a Judo training programme back in 1996.

Not only has the professional Judo player, or Judoka, never left but she has since gone on to represent her adopted home on the world stage.

She said: "I initially came to Scotland for a weekends visit but I absolutely fell in love with the place and didn't want to leave! The Judo training here was also a big draw so when I found an excellent coach in Edinburgh, I made the decision to stay. Everything just seemed to fall into place.

"As part of the Edinburgh club, I trained with talented Judoka Billy Cusack in venues across the city. Billy has been my personal coach from 1996 until now and in being able to travel to most of the events I have fought in, he has been through the many highs and lows in my career with me.

"A definite high was when I'd been resident in Scotland for four years and was able to compete as a Scottish athlete. It was a fantastic moment to find out I could represent the country."

And in 2002, Sarah got the chance to do just that when she competed as a member of Team Scotland in the Manchester Commonwealth Games.

For the adopted Scot, it was an incredible event to be part of and she even went on to secure a silver medal.

She continued: "Manchester 2002 was my first experience of a multi-sport event so it was really exciting. The buzz around the whole city was just amazing and being close to home meant we had huge support for Team Scotland which was very special.

"Including the silver I won, the Judo team alone brought home nine medals so it was a great time for the sport too. I hope we can do something similar in 2014 and use the home advantage to drive up our medal tally."

Although Sarah won't know until next year whether she will definitely be competing at the Games herself, she is currently working towards that goal whilst also using her own knowledge and experience to train the Judo stars of tomorrow. She hopes that more Scots will be inspired to take up sport on the back of the Games.

She said: "I really enjoy working with the up and coming Judokas, Judo is such a great sport for kids and I'm so pleased to see its growth in Scotland.

"2014 is going to be fantastic for the country and I hope Scots make the most of the opportunities available to them. Sport can be a platform for so many things and it keeps you healthy, it gives you confidence and it has the potential to change lives."

You can follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahclark_judo