London 2012 Olympian Lisa Kearney leads the Northern Ireland Judo squad in Glasgow. The 25 year-old has moved up a weight division in the past two years and now fights at -52kg and with world cup wins under her belt, Kearney has high hopes of being on the podium.
“My preparations for the Commonwealth Games have been going well. I’ve had some food wins in some World Cup events and performed well and I fought some of the best girls in the world. In Cuba recently I beat the number three in the world,” she explained.
“I more or less know the nations and some of the athletes who are going. I don’t think the weight category will be big, but I think the competitors there will be good. I think it will be a high quality competition and like I say I know some of the nations going and I can kind of work on my fight and things before going. I think that the Commonwealth Games will probably be on a similar level to some of the world cups I fight in.”
Kearney would like to emulate Lisa Bradley won won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester twelve years ago.
“Certainly, Lisa helped me out a lot earlier in my career, she is someone who I always look up to, and the fact that someone else has got a medal at the Commonwealth Games makes me feel like I can achieve that as well. Like I said before, I’m going to go in and focus on my performance; I’m confident and feeling good that I’m going to perform well. And if I do, the results will take care of themselves.”
Also in the squad of six is Mark Montgomery who started his Commonwealth career in Manchester in judo before switching to wrestling where he represented Northern Ireland four years ago in Delhi. Now at the age of forty he’s back competing in judo and hoping to better his fifth place finish in 2002.