Garioch’s Stuart off to Croatia

Garioch's Stuart McWatt who is off to the European Championships in Croatia on Saturday.
Garioch's Stuart McWatt who is off to the European Championships in Croatia on Saturday.

The 15 year old Inverurie Academy pupil, Scotlands youngest black belt, has his sights set on a place in the European Championships in Tallin in June this year but that place will only be secured by his continued success on the mat both at home and abroad.

Paul Douglas caught up with Stuart this week and asked him about his forthcoming programme. Stuart said, “Despite losing my British title to George Collum earlier this season, I have been able to overhaul him in the rankings and also managed to defeat him in our latest competition in St Helens. He is a full year older so next year he will be in with the seniors and I guess it will probably be between George and myself as to who will represent Britain at Cadet level at the European Championships this summer.

“In order to get a place the selectors will be looking at our form at events such as Croatia this weekend and there are other European cup competitions in Spain, Portugal and the Czech Republic. “This weekend is a big competition for me and I’m expecting up to 60 judo players in my Cadet Under 66Kg category. I have been doing some extra training at the national centre at Ratho, having tougher fights with Seniors and the likes of Olympian Gemma Gibbons.

“I managed two European Cup competitions last year mainly for experience but I’m am hopeful that this weekend I can win a few fights here and gain some European points.”

He added, “I have no idea who might be at the competition as that wont be known until we arrive, but its sure to be tough.”

Asked about his short term and longer term plans, Stuart said, “If I do well this weekend it might be I wont have to do any more European trips which are costly in terms of time and money. I will then have Sportif in Edinburgh which is an international competition and will have to make a decision about the remaining European competitions but I also have to think about my Standard Grade Exams which I’d hope to do well in and will take a priority.”

Stuart continued, “Generally I take each season and competition at a time although there has to be a strategy which I let my Dad work out and have to trust him, maybe in the same way as Hannah Miley does with her coach and father Patrick. I want to be the best I can be and compete at the highest level I can.”

His father and coach Stuart (senior) said, “Realistically Stuart is probably too young for both the Commonwealth and Rio Olympics and in any event to be able to compete at that level requires sponsorship to cover increased travel and training opportunities to work alongside the best players and with the best coaches the country can provide.

“Perhaps it might be another five years before a a major event would be in his sights but sponsorship is something we need to start considering soon if he is to progress to a level where he can compete with the best in the world, so if there are any sponsors out there we would be happy to hear from them “

if you think you or your company can help Stuart in his Judo career, contact stuartmcwatt@hotmail.com. or phone 07850 400346