Stuart returns home to a hero’s welcome

Stuart McWatt with his bronze medal
Stuart McWatt with his bronze medal

Medal-winning Garioch Judo’s Stuart McWatt was briefly back in Inverurie following his recent phenomenal success.

He won a European bronze at senior level in Glasgow in the Under 81kg category.

I have never experienced anything remotely like that before

Stuart McWatt European Bronze Medallist

The 18-year-old, who is now based at the British Judo Centre Of Excellence on the Walsall campus of the University of Wolverhampton, had two days at home with family last week after training camps in Edinburgh.

Speaking to the Herald before he returned south, Stuart was keeping his feet on the ground after a fantastic week.

He said: “Glasgow was amazing and the Scottish crowd were unbelievable.

“I have never experienced anything remotely like that before.

“After medalling in bronze position I was overwhelmed by the good wishes and youngsters wanting my autograph.

“It was all a bit surreal and it seemed to go on for ages.”

Looking back, he believes he gave Owen Livesey too much respect, and the number one seed and eventual gold medal winner will be in his sights the next time they meet.

Stuart said: “I’ll have a couple of days rest and light training before flying off to Abu Dhabi for the Junior World Championship.

“I’m going there with the intention of bringing back a medal but there’s likely to another dozen like me who believe they can do likewise out of the field of 30-plus fighters.

“I had some time with Garioch Judo working with the youngsters in the Kemnay group on Friday and it was good to catch up with family and friends after what has been a a hectic couple of months on and off planes to competitions and training camps.

“It’s great to see an increasing number of youngsters coming into the sport and if I can do anything to help I’m happy to do so. For now though I have to focus on the Worlds next weekend and doing my best in the junior field for the next couple of years.”

Stuart flew out to Abu Dhabi with the GB team on Tuesday morning and the competition draw will be made later this week.

His dad, Stuart senior, said: “All at Garioch Judo were delighted with his result in Glasgow which seemed to take everyone unawares and catapulted him into the limelight with significant media attention.

“We all wish him the best in Abu Dhabi and are extremely proud of his achievements.”