A RISING judo talent from Sauchie brought gold home to the Wee County, following an international competition last week.

Cailin Calder took the top spot on the podium following the Commonwealth Judo Championships in Walsall.

The 22-year-old local talent, who featured in the Advertiser last year when he faced off against his brother Reece in the finals of the Scottish Senior Open, won in his under 100kg senior men's category.

Representing Scotland, he saw off stiff competition from fighters who came from England and Singapore, while in the final he faced India's Avtar Singh.

Standing on the mat unbeaten following the five-day event, Cailin celebrated with fellow club member from Alloa's Esprit Judo, Gabriella Wood.

She was representing Trinidad and Tobago in the over 75kg senior women's category and was only beaten by Maan Tullika of India, securing a silver medal and adding another to the local club's haul of accolades.

Cailin, who has been training under the watchful eye of his proud dad Lee since he was just three, explained that receiving the gold medal was "one of the best feelings" and he considers the achievement one of the biggest results in his career so far.

He said: "The best thing about it was when I won it, I could see my dad's face, see how happy and proud of me he was as well."

Judo runs in Cailin's veins, he explained he was "born into it" as everyone in his family is involved in the sport.

Next up for the rising talent from the Wee County will be a world cup in Estonia and he is hoping he can earn his place and be selected for bigger championships, including Commonwealth Games.

For Gabby, it was her first senior final and she hailed the result a "big achievement".

She said: "My next big thing is the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam next month and I'm trying to qualify for Tokyo 2020 Olympics."

Cailin's father Lee, who coaches at Esprit locally, could not have been prouder after the results.

He said: "Obviously it's nerve-wrecking when he is on the mat fighting, you want him to do the best, but in the day he was just phenomenal, he stuck to the game plan.

"The guy he had in the final was a bit taller, which can cause him a bit of a problem.

"And he [opponent Singh] had attended the Olympics so he is at a decent level to fight plus we know that the Indian national sport is a bit of wrestling so we know that they can do a bit.

"So, [it was a case of] just sticking to the game plan for him to finish it off; it was fantastic, to win the gold medal was just a great achievement for the club and for our family as well.

"Hopefully more to come, Estonia and Malaga coming up in the next three or four weeks.

"The long-term goal just now is to make the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022."

For Lee, judo has been a big part of his life, something he grew to love.

The former competitor continues on as a coach and explained that the lessons at the club are about much more than just getting physically active.

He said: "The buzz I get out of it is teaching young kids judo and helping them become adults and making them better people.

"The respect, the honour – the moral code that we have is quite a high one and we try instil that in as many kids as possible.

"Plus we try and give the kids as much opportunity as we can, we take them on trips; in the past two years we went to Belgium with groups of kids from Edinburgh and Alloa with about 70 judo players on the mat from Scotland.

"The fitness side of it is fantastic as well, even as a supplementary sport to rugby, football or anything like that, but the moral side of it – I think that's an even bigger thing that we teach."

Cailin wanted to thank sponsors Monument Contracts for making sure he can attend tournaments.