Glasgow 2014: Sarah Clark inspired by judo youngsters

By Gemma CollisBBC Newcastle
Sarah Clark faces Automne Pavia of France in the first round of the London 2012 Olympics
Sarah Clark (blue) was knocked out in the first round of the London 2012 Olympics by Automne Pavia of France (white)
Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games
Dates: 23 July - 3 August
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, BBC Radio 5 live, Red Button, Connected TVs, online, tablets and mobiles

Sarah Clark has found a new hunger for judo having been inspired by the children at her club in Edinburgh.

Glasgow will be the 36-year old Scot's second Games after Manchester 2002 - where she won silver - and possibly her final major championships.

The judoka has won 11 UK titles, three European medals - including 2006 gold - and competed at three Olympic Games.

"I did a lot of work at my judo club with the children and the buzz was really big," Clark told BBC Newcastle.

"I've always done judo for myself, always been really motivated to better myself and do better.

"At the end of last year I made the decision that if I was in the best shape that I could be and I deserved to go, then I would go.

"I would do it almost for all these kids that were willing me to go."

Clark has been unable to repeat her Commonwealth success at Olympic level, with her London 2012 disappointment mirroring first-round exits in Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004.

"There was all the buzz in the country, but for me it quite a down period. It's hard to come back from, you sort of re-address," Clark continued.

The South Shields native's work at the Edinburgh Judo Club is one of a number of contributions to sport, including her involvement in Legacy 2014external-link and the Champions in Schools programme in Scotland.

"At the end of the day it's about making that person really motivated to do something that they want to do in their life and getting the best out of themselves," Clark added.

"I'd like to use judo and sport as that tool to make people get the most out of themselves - I think it's really important."

Judo's return to the Commonwealth programme for 2014 for the first time since 2002 has presented the Scotland judoka with a chance to surpass her Manchester achievement.

Recent success in South America in particular has boosted her confidence, with silver at the Pan American Opens in both Uruguay and Buenos Aires.

"The way that I fought rubber stamped that I can do it and I can be at my best for Glasgow," Clark said.

"There's going to be a few challenges ahead in terms of the competitors.

"But I'm feeling in really good shape and I'm quite confident in my fight plans and my fight strategies as well.

"I would love to go one step better and take home the gold for Scotland and everybody else that has been involved."

"I think it would be a fitting end, possibly, to my career."

Top Stories