HAVING experienced the atmosphere and benefited from the backing of the vociferous Scottish crowd, judoka Steph Inglis is desperate to get herself on to the mats in the forthcoming European Championships, which are being held at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow, on 9-12 April.
It is the first time in 20 years that the prestigious tournament is being held at a British venue and, having experienced the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Scot, who won a silver medal last summer, is convinced it will be a huge success.
Her only issue is the injury she sustained at the end of last year and the race against time she now faces to be part of the judo jamboree and have a chance to pick up some vital qualification points ahead of the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“I’ve got a bit of a knee injury at the moment so I’m just working on getting that better and back intro training. I injured myself in December in the first 30 seconds of my first fight in a competition so I’ve just been working with the doctors and the physios to try to get me back as soon as possible. There is still a chance I could make the European Championships – I’d never say never. It’s never good to give up on anything.”
Especially when Inglis desperately wants to be one of the Scots in the British team who will get boisterous backing as they take on the elite from top nations like Russia and France.
“The main thing I got from the Games was a massive confidence boost. You always knew in your head you were capable of winning a medal but having everyone support you and wanting you to do well, then getting that medal… that gives you extra hunger looking towards Rio. You want to chase another massive achievement.
“I think if the Games had been anywhere else, there wouldn’t have been the same hype. Being in Glasgow meant everyone got involved. There was that buzz going around.”
“Trying to qualify for Rio is the main focus just now. Qualifying ends in May next year so I’m just trying to get my knee better, get back competing, and try to get as many results and points as possible. There are so many tournaments in judo so even though I’m out at the moment there is still a good chance to come back and make up for lost time.”