ST HELENS’ Commonwealth Games hero Owen Livesey returned to the town for a flying visit last week along with his prized gold medal, which he dedicated to his mum Joanne.

Livesey took out the top honour in the judo men’s -81kg category during the high-profile Glasgow tournament.

The 23-year-old Haresfinch fighter learned his craft at the Newton-le-Willows-based SKK club.

He took the gold after defeating fellow Englishman Tom Reed in the final.

His family were there at the SECC Precinct in Glasgow, including mum Joanne and sisters Bekky and Amy, both of whom are accomplished judokas themselves.

Livesey, for whom gold was an early birthday present, said: “All my family were really happy.

“My mum has always supported me and without them I would never have done it.

“My family were the ones who funded me and paid for everything so they were chuffed.

“They were all pleased for me “Winning was a relief more than anything after spending the last couple of months preparing for it.

“There was a lot of pressure coming into it but it was amazing.

“I had never witnessed anything like that, it was the best atmosphere I have ever fought in and it was a sell-out crowd.”

Livesey’s preparation had been good, taking the gold medal in the British Championships last December and then following it up with two silvers for Great Britain during tournaments in Argentina and Uruguay.

After earlier wins over Kenyan John Kirimi, Zambian Boas Munyonga and Canadian Johan Burt in the semi-finals, Livesey edged out Team Bath fighter Reed to take top spot on the podium.

The triumph marked somewhat of a fairytale story after Livesey left the sport for 18 months, returning to his native St Helens to play amateur rugby league at Pilkington Recs. After a brief two-day visit back in his hometown, Livesey returned to his training base at Camberley, in Surrey, ahead of enjoying a week’s holiday before he gets back to the business of picking up ranking points to fulfil his long-term ambition of making the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“I’ve got one more week off now and will be on holiday with my friends for a week.

“And then when I’m back I’ve got six weeks until my first World Cup event which takes place in Portugal,” he said.