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An Olympic journey started by a Pokemon card

January 8, 2019

Ashley McKenzie is one of Team GB's leading medal hopefuls on a quest for martial arts glory at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. His journey so far has taken him from the streets of London to representing GB at it's home games in 2012, and again in Rio four years later.

 

Many martial artists share similar stories of origin, Ashley's however, has the apparent inclusion of a Pokemon card.

 

"It's absolutely true" said Ashley.

 

"Growing up on the streets of London was tough for me. I was attending a special school, was diagnosed with ADHD and was getting into trouble all the time."

 

He continued, "One particular time a fight started over a Pokemon card, I went for this guy but he just threw me with ease, when I tried a second time he threw me down again.

 

I wanted to learn the skills to beat this guy, and so from that experience I decided that I had to start Judo. I then joined the same club as the boy that I had clashed with!"

 

Another combat sport may have altered his journey, as Ashley originally tried his hand at boxing.

 

"When I was younger I tried joining a boxing club. I had a lot of anger issues which was holding me back in school and in general."

 

Things did not work out in the boxing world though. As Ashley explained, "to be honest, things could get out of hand very quickly with boxing. I decided that it just wasn't right for me."

 

Now, after many years of Judo training, Ashley has already competed at the highest level of his sport, and he's still looking to achieve more.

 

"I want an Olympic Gold." Ashley said.

 

"It's never happened before for British Judo and I believe I could be the man to do it.

 

Having competed at two Olympic games before, I know what it takes."

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