Double Commonwealth champion Ashley McKenzie wants to inspire children with behaviour problems to get into judo and thanked the sport for turning his life around after he earned gold at Coventry Arena.
McKenzie defeated fellow Englishman Samuel Hall to regain his Commonwealth title in the -60kg final, eight years after winning gold in Glasgow 2014.
The 33-year-old had to be consoled after being knocked out in the second round at Tokyo 2020 but was the polar opposite following his victory in Coventry and claimed judo helped him get his life back on track.
After his triumph, he said: “Judo has definitely helped me turn my life around, from when I was a little boy, I was always in trouble, I went to special school and all I wanted to do was look up to my brother.
“My brother is an amazing character, and I couldn’t live up to him, I think my way was to just get in trouble, trying to get attention and life just went sour. I found out about this judo club and that’s when I started.
“I would love to inspire people with behaviour problems, ADHD, everything you know, I think they are the people that when they put their mind to something, they can get really far and that’s the same across sports.
“I’ve done my job what I’ve come to do. Eight years ago I won it and now I’ve won it again, everyone says that I’m the old one in the group and all this but look I’ve got a gold baby! I could not care less, I’m happy, I’ve done it in front of my family.”