A CLACKS man recently won a bronze medal at the British Judo Championships after two years of not competing.

Cailin Calder, who trains with and is coached by his father Lee at the Judo Club Esprit in the Wee County, took home the medal after winning four fights and losing one at the championships.

The championship took place at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield, on December 11.

Cailin has not competed for 24 months due to various reasons, including an injury, and so Lee was thrilled to see him take home a medal.

Lee told the Advertiser: "It's been a hard couple of years and to come back [to a] first fight at the British Championships is a bit of a plunge into the ocean.

"To walk away with a bronze is a really phenomenal achievement for us and for Cailin especially."

Ever the competitor, Lee said Cailin "was disappointed he got beat", adding: "He always wants to compete for gold where possible."

Despite the past 18 months seriously disrupting the sporting calendar for so many sports, Lee and Cailin were in a slightly unique position.

Lee continued: "We were quite lucky because we come from a family of judo fighters. Me, Cailin, his brothers, we've got the dojo so we've managed to go down there and train and compete."

Unfortunately for Cailin, an injury to his intercostal muscle thwarted his training and preparation for the championships, forcing him out of action for six weeks.

Lee continued: "That sort of hampered our preparations for the British Championships but we still went for it, fought as hard as he could and he done really well.

"It's been hard for everybody [the past two years]."

Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, 2021 has been a year to remember for everyone involved with Esprit.

Gabriella Wood, who also trains at the dojo, became the first female to represent Trinidad and Tobago in judo at the Olympics earlier this year.

Defeated by Belarus' Maryna Slutskaya at the Nippon Budokan indoor arena in Tokyo, Wood promised the experience only gave her the desire to do it again.

Add Cailin's bronze medal to that achievement and it's undoubtedly been a year to be proud of.

"It's been a phenomenal year," Lee said. "Having the opportunity to go to the Olympics with Gabriella was, I mean, that's a once in a lifetime [opportunity], that's the pinnacle of our sport.

"If you told me 10 years ago that I'd get the opportunity to go to the Olympics, at any level, with anybody, I wouldn't have believed it.

"It was really good, it was good to witness it and be at the side of the mat was just phenomenal as a coach."

Now, for Lee, Cailin and Gabriella, the Commonwealth Games is the next goal.

Plenty of training camps await both athletes, with Cailin looking to represent Scotland and Gabriella will once again look to represent her country.

Always looking ahead, Lee said: "Qualification for that is now the most important thing."