Judo Steps into Sports Focus Spotlight

November 7, 2019

Team Scotland’s most successful sport at each of the three Commonwealth Games it has been included, Judo is next up in our ‘Celebrating Our Past, Building Our Future’ Sport Focus, which features all 25 sports in which Scotland has competed at the Commonwealth Games.

Look out for everything Judo related on our website and social media channels in the coming weeks as we follow Scotland’s judoka from their first appearance in 1990, to their incredible 13 medal haul at Glasgow 2014 and look ahead to the sport’s return to the Games for Birmingham 2022.

Judo at the Commonwealth Games

Following the Commonwealth Judo Championships being held as a demonstration event at the Edinburgh 1986 Commonwealth Games, Judo was first included as a medal sport at Auckland 1990. Judo has been a success story for Team Scotland ever since, racking up an impressive 31 medals: 8 gold, 8 silver and 15 bronze over just three Games appearances. The sport was next included at Manchester 2002, followed by Glasgow 2014 and will make its fourth appearance at Birmingham 2022.

Scottish judoka celebrated their first chance of Commonwealth Games glory at Auckland 1990 by becoming Scotland’s top sport of the Games with eight medals: one gold, three silver and four bronze.  Twelve years later they repeated the feat, this time winning ten medals: one gold, three silver and six bronze. Their crowing glory to date came at Glasgow 2014 where they delighted the home crowd with an incredible 13 medals from 14 athletes: six gold, two silver and five bronze, once again Team Scotland’s most successful sport at what was a record breaking Games all round.

With twelve year gaps between the three Games that have included Judo to date, there are only two Scottish judoka with more than one Commonwealth Games medal to their name. The title of Scotland’s most successful judoka at the Commonwealth Games belongs to Sarah Clark who won silver at Manchester 2002 and went one better for gold at Glasgow 2014. The only other athlete with two Judo medals is Graham Campbell who took bronze in both Men’s 95kg and Open events at Auckland 1990.

Find out more about Judo in the Commonwealth Games, including the competition format, rules and equipment on our dedicated Judo page.

Scotland’s Commonwealth Champions

Scotland were straight off the mark in the gold medal stakes at Judo’s first Games appearance at Auckland 1990 as former World and European champion Loretta Cusack took victory in the Women’s 56kg event. Among Scotland’s six other medallists at those Games was her husband Billy with bronze in the men’s 71kg event and the Cusack family were back in the medals as part of Scotland’s ten medal haul at Manchester 2002 as Karen, sister of Billy, hit the podium with Women’s 52kg bronze. In another family affair, twins Donna and Fiona Robertson each took bronze in the Women’s 48kg event twelve years apart – Donna in 1990 and Fiona in 2002. Both would go on the represent Team Scotland in a further two Commonwealth Games after a change of sport to Wrestling.

World Champion in 1999 and a two-time Olympian, Graeme Randall was the star of Scotland’s Manchester 2002 Judo squad as he crowned a glittering career with gold in the 81kg event. Following a neck injury just six months before the Games his participation had been in doubt and the emotion was apparent after he threw England’s Tom Cousins for a match-winning ippon to clinch gold.

After just one gold medallist at Auckland 1990 and Manchester 2002, Judo pulled out all the stops for the home Games of Glasgow 2014 with six Commonwealth Champions among their 13 medallists. On the opening night Kimberley Renicks assured her place in the history books, winning Scotland’s first gold of the Games and the first of an emotional double-gold for the Renicks sisters, as Louise replicated her sister’s gold medal winning feat just minutes later. The gold medals continued rolling in with Sarah Clark winning gold for her second Commonwealth Games medal 12 years after silver in Manchester.

It was then the turn of Team Scotland flag bearer, Euan Burton, who took to the mat determined to make up at least in part, for his London 2012 disappointment. Despite fighting up a weight category, he fought supremely to win gold in his final competitive match and bring the curtain down on an incredible sporting career. As if this this wasn’t enough for the crowd they cheered both Sarah Adlington and Chris Sherrington on to victory, to conclude an incredible week for Scottish Judo.

Team Scotland Judo Gold Medallists

Auckland 1990 Loretta Cusack
Manchester 2002 Graeme Randall
Glasgow 2014 Sarah Adlington, Euan Burton, Sarah Clark, Kimberley Renicks, Louise Renicks, Chris Sherrington

Click here for a full list of Team Scotland’s Judo medallists

Youth Games Success

Judo made its Youth Games debut at Bahamas 2017 with Scotland represented by six young athletes. Before the evening’s Opening Ceremony had even begun, the team had claimed four medals with Emily Ritchie getting the team off the mark, going undefeated through three contests to claim Over 70kg gold, Scotland’s first of the Games and a first for Judo at a Youth Games.

The medals kept on coming in the second session with Fiona Todman at Under 48kg and Emma Forrest in the Under 57kg category both earning their place in the final and picking up silver. In the Men’s Under 90kg event, Louis Saez started his competition with a close defeat but showed real grit and determination to bounce back in his next bout. A record of two wins and two losses in his pool was enough to ensure he took home bronze for Scotland. Connor Wilson and Ryan Quigley both faced tough opposition in their draw with both narrowly missing out on medals. Both battled hard throughout the day and made sure they did themselves and Team Scotland proud.

Scotland at the Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games is the only occasion where Scotland gets to compete in a multi-sport event as a nation in its own right and is one of only six countries to have competed in every Commonwealth Games since their inception in Hamilton in 1930. Represented by 15 athletes participating in six sports at those first Games, winning a very creditable 10 medals, Scotland have gone on to win medals at every Games since.

Edinburgh became the first city to hold the Games twice in 1970 and 1986 and also became the first city to host the Commonwealth Youth Games.

Scotland hosted the Games for a third time when Glasgow welcomed athletes and officials to the XXth Commonwealth Games which was held from 23rd July – 3rd August 2014. Team Scotland celebrated their most successful Games in history, winning a total of 53 medals and went on to record their highest overseas medal tally ever at Gold Coast 2018.

Find out more about the Commonwealth Games and Team Scotland’s past success in our Past Games section.

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