Judo: Jodie is Mullen over following in famous father's footsteps

LIKE father, like daughter? That's what Edinburgh judo player Jodie Mullen is hoping.

The 18-year-old confirmed her status as one of Britain's brightest prospects by winning the national under-20 title in Kendal, and the future could include the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Rio Olympics two years later.

If Jodie makes it to Brazil, she will emulate her dad Eddie, who became the first Scots judoka to compete at an Olympics when he finished ninth in Munich in 1972.

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He later became a successful coach and author and gave one of his books the prophetic title: "Making a Champion". Father and daughter even fight in the same 63kg class.

Despite dad's background, Jodie did not get involved in judo until the age of 12 when she took part in an Active Schools project at Penicuik High School.

Her progress since then has been dramatic, and she is now virtually a full-time athlete based at Judo Scotland's performance centre in Ratho.

As well as training with world-ranked Edinburgh club-mates such as Sarah Clark and Euan Burton, her development is being monitored by the Scottish Institute of Sport's High Performance Coach, the former Olympian and Commonwealth silver medallist David Somerville.

"Jodie hasn't come from nowhere, but her progress over the last 18 months has been above what we expected," said Somerville.

"First and foremost, it's been down to her own hard work, but also the training centre at Ratho. That's made a big difference to Jodie.

"She always had good technical skills, but she was quite tall and gangly. Our strength and conditioning coach Allan McDonald has spent a lot of time with her and she has really flourished.

"You never want to put too much pressure on kids, but I don't think we can put a ceiling on her potential.

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"She has very similar attributes to (2006 European champion and double Olympian) Sarah Clark. I've seen both of them at 18, and I'd say Jodie is ahead in a lot of ways.

"Jodie is Sarah's training partner and has been for the past 18 months since just before the Beijing Olympics. It's a massive benefit at the start of her career to learn from an athlete of that experience.

"London 2012 will come too soon for her, but she's a strong contender for a place at the 2014 Commonwealths and the 2016 Olympics. After last week, she's clearly Britain's No.1 and is in pole position to go to this year's European and World Junior Championships (in Bulgaria and Morocco). We wouldn't even have been dreaming of that at this time last year."