Life is a give and take

UEL Scholar to shine in Glasgow 2014 while on her way to Rio 2016 with a recently collected continental medal

Until today, I have had nightmares due to narrowly missing out on the London 2012 Olympic Games. I could not imagine anything could be done to replace the loss of that qualifying spot. However I believe that life gives and takes…

I have had a tough year and a half  year since I missed out on the 2012 Olympics. People would think that I should of been over it a long time ago, however I must admit I think I just recently have started to pick myself back up with new goals and new dreams. A lot of things have happened and changes needed to be done in order to get my head to focus on the next two years, which is the period of the qualification time for the next Olympic Games in my sport, Judo.

Last year, I was loosing out before the quarter-finals almost at all the tournaments, which of course left me with gutted feelings and I ended up in the situation where I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore… To top it off, when I was about to get myself back in the game at the beginning of this year, I picked up a serious knee injury. It took me three months before I was able to stand on the mat again. I know three months is probably nothing, but in a life of an athlete three months can feel like three years at the time.

Once I was back on the mat, I had a good few weeks to prepare for the first Olympic qualification event in Madrid. In the meantime, my federation had announced the team for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and my name was on the list. Of course, I was happy and it was overwhelming but I did not jump around of the news as I knew my big job is Rio 2016 and I had so much going on that I had to stay focus, recover and get myself back on track.

Just when you think nothing can cross your way, it happens again. I got sick before the tournament whilst cutting weight. In Judo, and I believe I can speak for other contact sports too, players are cutting weight sometimes extremely in an unhealthy way. I was one of them, and after 14 years of doing it my body gave up on me. Everything happens for a reason they say, and it certainly did. So, when I got really sick, me and my coach decided to move up a weight-class. Now, I am fighting at the -63kg category.

I recently finished my studies at UEL which allowed me to relocate and start with a new, fresh, clean page. I would lie if I say I don’t miss UEL, but decisions had to be made to achieve my dream. I moved to Camberley to do full time judo. Moving to my current club, Camberley Judo Club was the best decision I made in a long time. The amount of support I am getting from my coach, Luke Preston is incredible, not to mention the team spirit we have. Why is it so special? Being in Great Britain but representing a different country is a real straggle, and getting any support is almost impossible. Luke Preston treats me just like any other player, and this is very rear.

So what happened since I moved up a weight class? I headed out to Madrid and fought my heart out against my French opponent. I felt good, I felt fit and I enjoyed judo very much and being back on the mat. A penalty point let me to lose out on that contest, however I had no disappointments at all since it was a new weight class and my first competition since my injury. Two weeks later, I went to the Budapest Grand Prix and had my first contest against world nb 5 ranked German Judoka. I put up a good fight and felt already better than in Madrid. She managed to throw me in the last minute, for her to claim silver later on at that event. Disappointed? NOT at all.

Straight from Budapest I travelled to Mauritius to compete at the continental championships. A day later after landing, I was up on the mat once more and I have to say I was up for blood. I overcome my Chad, Tunisian and Cameroon opponent and only lost against last year’s winner from Morocco. I finished on third place. This bronze medal is very important for me to start climbing up on the world ranking in the new weight class.

In four weeks time I will be competing at the Commonwealth Games. I am very excited and looking forward to the whole experience, but most of all I am looking forward to make Ghana proud and became the first female judoka to win medal at the Commonwealth Games. History to be made and I want to be the one to do so.

I would like to thank for everyone’s support and I hope to make everyone, including UEL proud at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

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