My Fathers Judo club was called ” The Balbirnie Judo club ” a cold, cold place in the winter, as this place was far too expensive to heat up, as it was a old big building.
My first competition was the Fife Championships, both me and my brother won Gold in our weight categories and for the next couple of years, we won gold again.
The next big competition was the Scottish Championships- both me and my brother were in the same weight category, but unfortunately I won bronze on that day and my brother took the gold medal
Twice we entered the “Meadowbank Open” competition open for the rest of Europe, and on both occasions, myself and my brother won a bronze medal.
Judo was my life and I wanted to be the best and get into the Olympics
Then I saw in a Judo magazine a competition down in England, ” The English Open ” I wanted to go down there and compete, so I saved up all my pocket money- well all my milk money, as I was working as a milk boy – sent in my entrance fee and travelled down by train all by myself to London.
I think I was only 15 years of age, so this was a huge adventure for me, travelling all alone with my Adidas duffel bag, not knowing what what a head of me.
I booked myself into a Bed & Breakfast the night before the competition, didn’t sleep at all that night- could have done with a wee whisky, but I wasn’t drinking at that age- but before I knew it, it was morning and time to eat a small breakfast and head down to the advent.
I can not remember how many fights I had, but I got into the final and I was facing a good fighter from England and he had all his club supporters with him- cheering him on and I think there were a few people there wanting me to win.
Anyway, this is one fight that I gave it all and the fight went right to the end & in my heart I knew I had done enough to win this- but Nope !!! English referee and English linemen- gave it to the Englishman – so a Silver medal in the English Open it was & back on the train with my trophy and back home to Scotland- still proud.