OWEN Livesey is hoping that his whirlwind return to judo is capped off with a Commonwealth Games gold medal for England.
Success on Friday in Glasgow would be great story of resilience and self belief for the soon to be 23-year-old who spent 18 months out of the sport after becoming disillusioned after failing to get selected for the London 2012 Olympics.
Originally from Haresfinch but now training down at Camberley, Livesey is confident of success in the -81kg category after he marked his return to the sport by winning the British Championships and collecting two silvers for Great Britain in tournaments in Uruguay and Argentina.
Those displays propelled the one time Saints rugby league junior to the top of the Commonwealth ranking list to represent England, and now he is looking forward to the event.
Livesey said: “My preparation for this has gone really well, with a training camp in Belarus and one in Barcelona.
“It has gone really great since my return – I had trained really hard in the build up to my comeback but it was still a bit of a shock to win the British Championships on my return.
“I did believe I could get back here by training – but I trained really hard and gave a lot up to move away to Camberley, but you get back what you put in.
“I have good training partners and good coach so that is helping push me to train as hard as I can.”
Judo does not get much in the way of media exposure, but that will change this week with the sport being one of 17 taking centre stage in the televised Glasgow showpiece.
A good performance here will be massive for the profile of the self-funded Livesey, who has more than an eye on Rio 2016.
The former SKK fighter said: “I can’t wait for it. The whole set up is different. We do big Grand Prix tournaments and World Cups all the time, but with this is massive – all the different media is involved too and that is different to the other tournaments.
“All the judo is televised and we have been on the news and it opens doors for sponsorship. If you a win a medal or even better win the gold it presents a great opportunity.
“I am hoping I can win it. I have been training hard for 13 months since I returned and have fought and beat already a few of my opponents who are going to be in the Commonwealth Games, so I am hoping I can beat them again.
“I have done everything I can do so am now just going out there enjoy it and hopefully it comes good.”
In terms of threats Livesey cites two New Zealand fighters as providing a tough challenge and also believes a Fiji, Canada and Wales can cause some problems.
The winner of the gold medal will have to five fights on Friday.
Livesey will not be the only St Helens judo player involved.
Billinge’s Royal Marine Chris Sherrington will follow his Olympic Games of 2012 by representing Scotland up in Glasgow.