Next month’s Commonwealth Games will be the third consecutive games for Mark Montgomery, and he’s hoping to build on two fifth place finishes in Delhi and Manchester.
The 40-year-old firefighter from Aghalee is set to break records heading into the games in Glasgow, though his qualification went right down to the wire.
He said: “I went into the last event still needing 75 points to make the minimum points required to be considered.”
A silver medal brought Mark to his required total. “It was a relief more than anything,” he said.
“I’m going into the games with my highest ever British ranking - number two.”
Mark has taken part in eight Commonwealth Championships overall and this will be his third games. He finished fifth at Freestyle Wrestling in Delhi which matched his fifth place finish at Judo in Manchester. This time round he’s one of six Judo players on Team NI.
“I don’t want to put any pressure on myself, but any time Judo has been in the games has always produced a medal for Northern Ireland.”
Last year Mark won a gold medal at the World Police and Fire Games on home soil.
He continued: “Training is going very well. I’m travelling around local clubs to get people my own weight to fight against. As a heavyweight it’s difficult to get training partners. I’m travelling over to Edinburgh every couple of weeks to the high performance centre. There are any number of Olympians training there.”
The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow start on July 23 and Mark competes on July 26. “I’ll be giving it my all,” he said.
Mark stands to break a couple of records at the forthcoming games.
He said: “As far as I know I’ll be the oldest ever Judo players to compete at the Commonwealth Games. As the old saying goes, age and treachery will overcome youth and skill.
“I’ll also be the first to compete at Judo in two games.”
Mark thanked NI Fire Service for their support and also Lurgan Rugby Club for the use of their gym facilities.