Aghalee man Mark Montgomery realised his dream of becoming a world champion at the Police and Fire Games at the weekend.
Mark, who has competed at the Commonwealth Games at both judo and wrestling, won the gold medal in Judo on Saturday in Shankill Leisure Centre.
He said: “It was an honour to be able to represent the fire service and win a gold medal.
“It was the last event of the day and it couldn’t have been set up better. I was up against a Gard from Dublin.
“It was north versus south and both of us were well supported.”
In taking the gold Mark had five wins out of five, winning each bout by the maximum score of 10-0.
Mark added: “I’ve won gold at Commonwealth Championships and European Championships and a World bronze, but this is my first World gold medal.
“At the end of the day I can call myself a world champion.”
Mark (39) is relatively new to the fire service having been employed as a full-time firefighter for the last year and a half. With a gold medal round his neck he’s hungry for more action at the Police and Fire Games.
“Hopefully I’ll have a go at the dodgeball on Friday,” he said. “It looks like fun. All being well I’ll get to the closing ceremony as well.”
He added: “I’d have loved to do the wrestling as well, but unfortunately I have to use my leave in order to compete and I need to save time off for the Commonwealth qualifiers.”
At next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow he’s aiming to compete at judo.
He said: “Last December I started the push to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The qualifying period runs from March this year until March next year.”
After a string of podium finishes at British ranking events Mark found himself as British Number One.
He commented: “Qualification is far from over. There’s a long way to go but I’m in a good position.
“Because I’ve been competing all year I was in good shape for the Police and Fire Games. I’ve done a bit of rugby training up at Lurgan and it has stood me in good stead.”