Defeated McKenzie determined to bounce back at 2016 Olympics

PUBLISHED: 12:52 01 August 2012

Great Britain's Ashley McKenzie

Great Britain's Ashley McKenzie

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Willesden judoka Ashley McKenzie insists the pain of his early Olympic exit will spur him on to make amends at Rio 2016.

The 23-year-old was the first member of Team GB to be eliminated from the London Games after losing to eventual silver medallist Hiroaki Hiraoka in the first round of the men’s under-60kg.

But McKenzie, fighting back tears after his defeat by the Japanese number two seed, is determined to bounce back by gaining another Olympic chance in Brazil in four years’ time.

He said: “I came here hoping to get a medal, but this experience has given me the motivation to carry on to the next Olympics in Rio.

“Obviously I’m disappointed, but there’s no disgrace in losing to the world number two, especially as I never thought I would get to the Games in the first place.

“It has been a lot of hard work for a couple of years but I don’t consider it wasted. I was up against the number two ranked fighter and if I had been able to get into the competition a bit more, I might have beaten him.

“I want to thank my fans a lot – they’ve been behind me and I’m very grateful to have them. Hopefully they’ve all seen that I tried to put in 100 per cent.”

McKenzie, who joined Willesden Judo Club at the age of 11 and went on to become British champion twice, as well as winning a gold medal at the European under-23 Championships, has already set himself new targets.

He added: “It is great to be an Olympian and represent Great Britain, but I want to better myself. I’ve still got the Europeans and Worlds on the way so hopefully I can get there.

“I will just take it step by step. The end of those journeys cannot be how it was this time.

“I care about my family, I want to provide for them, and for me that’s my number one priority. My little brother’s still growing up, and I want to put him not just in better education – I want him to better his life.”

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