Ashley McKenzie is going over every stepping stone to achieve 2020 glory

You might have seen so called 'bad boy' Olympian Ashley McKenzie on celebrity TV shows such as Big Brother and Celebs on the farm, but make no mistake, this is one athlete with complete focus on achieving his sporting goals.

Two time Olympian Ashley, who recently took a bronze medal at the Croatian Grand Prix is currently preparing for Judo World Championships in Baku. We caught up with him ahead of a tournament that will play a huge part in this athletes road to Tokyo.

"Training has been going really well" Said Ashley.

"I've got a slight niggle with my knee but otherwise I'm feeling fit and ready.

It's important to manage your training in the lead up to a competition, nothing too heavy which could cause injury, although we have been raising the intensity to make sure i'm at the required level.

Even though it's a major championships, I will treat it as just another tournament. If I perform at the heights I know I can, I believe I'll get a medal."

Recent success for Ashley includes a Bronze at the Croatian Grand Prix, though he knows he can achieve more.

"I should have got to the final.

I felt quite tired in the quarter final and then lost out to a Czech player who i'd beaten before.

There's always something nice about getting a medal so in a way I can be happy, but overall I wasn't satisfied with how I performed."

Moving forward to the World Championships, only a best finish will be good enough for the British Judoka.

"The target is a minimum of finishing in the top 5, which would be a personal best performance for me.

Beyond that, of course I'll be aiming to go as far as I can, into the medals and maybe following in the footsteps of Craig Fallon (WC Gold medalist 2005 Cairo) and winning Gold."

Ashley's World title hopes are the forefront of his focus, but he can be forgiven for beginning his early preparations for the 2020 Olympics.

"All Judo athletes look forward to the major competitions such as World and European Championships. Although the main goal is the Olympics in Tokyo 2020" he continued.

"It's impossible to achieve Olympic success without going over every stepping stone. Each and every success and failure plays an important part of ultimate preparation.

I've competed at two Olympics, beaten multiple World Champions and European Champions. I believe this puts me in a strong position to achieve my goal."

Image Source - Mike Varey, elitepix