JUDO star Paul McCann is on the road to great things after winning gold at the British Championships last week – making up for last year’s catastrophe when a traffic jam caused him to miss the event. By Paul Thomson
The 14-year-old from Westwood was one of the favourites for a medal last year, but on the way down to Sheffield with his family, Paul got stuck in traffic as major road works scuppered his plans of competing.
But now the St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High School pupil is celebrating after claiming gold and clinching the British number one spot at his age group.
Now the youngster aims to go further in his sport and already has his eyes on winning other major titles.
Paul told the News: “It was certainly the hardest competition I’ve taken part in so far and it was amazing to win gold and get the number one spot at the same time.
“I was absolutely delighted at taking the title.
“It’s the first time I’ve taken part in the Championships because I missed it last year because of major road works in Sheffield.
“I was really looking forward to it last year and I’d travelled down with all my family.
“All of us were disappointed that I didn’t make it especially as it was because of matters out of our control.
“I expected to do really well last year but my success this time really makes up for all that now and everyone is delighted at the result.”
Paul was competing in the under-50 kilogramme category and he won a total of five fights in one day to clinch the title.
Going into the event, Russian-born Briton Zair Karmiov was the British number one, but Paul defeated him in his second round match on the way to gold.
He added: “Zair was the favourite for the competition, so it felt really good to beat him.
“My coach said that even if I didn’t win the tournament, he would have been happy as long as I beat Zair.
“But I got both and it was a great experience.”
After his first fight at the age of eight, Paul went on to win ten titles including the Scottish Closed Championships, the Scottish School Championships and the Scottish Age Band title.
But now, he has his sights set on the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 – and he hasn’t ruled out taking part in the 2012 Olympic Games in London either.
Paul said: “My main aim is to get to the Commonwealth Games in 2014, but I would really love to go to the Olympics.
“I will only be 18 at the time so it would be difficult for me because there will be a lot of people there who are older and more experienced – but it’s not impossible.
“I’m not giving up hope, but I know it will be difficult.
“If I can’t get to the Olympics, I’m confident I can compete at the Commonwealth Games.”
But Paul, who trains four days a week after school, has the more immediate concern of qualifying for the European Youth Championships.
He will be competing at tournaments in the next few weeks and hopes to qualify for the event which takes place early next year.
by Paul Thomson
East Kilbride News