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Injury nightmare over for Ferguson as judo star set for African Open

17 March 2017
Judo player David Ferguson is relishing a return to action after six months on the sidelines

Judo player David Ferguson is relishing a return to action after six months on the sidelines

Half a year after achieving the rare feat of winning a World Cup medal whilst still a junior, Edinburgh College judo player David Ferguson returns to top level competition this weekend in the Casablanca African Open (18-19 March). 

It has been a frustrating six months for the 21-year-old. Days after experiencing the highs of winning bronze at last September’s Asian Open in Taipei, he snapped a knee ligament whilst preparing for the European Open held in his home town, Glasgow. 

“I fought in Taipei for experience as part of a seven-week training camp so I really didn’t see myself medalling with it being a senior event.” said Ferguson.

“Then, just four days before the Glasgow tournament I was doing squad training and turned in for a throw.  But my leg got caught on the mat and my knee twisted the wrong way and I snapped my MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament).  I’ve been injured ever since.”

Given the time it has taken him to recover and get back on the mat, Ferguson is understandably feeling some nerves about the prospect of competing again, although the overriding emotion is excitement.

“I only got back on the mat about a month ago,” he continued.  “There are stages where I’m nervous but I’m excited as well such as after training when I feel I’m up for competing.

“But I think if I perform well I should do alright and I’m really looking forward to competing again.  It just comes down to performing well on the day.”

Ferguson, who is studying Developing Sport and Performance at Edinburgh College, is one of 150 students supported by Winning Students, Scotland’s national sports scholarships programme for student athletes.

Through the programme he receives funding support and the academic flexibility required to perform at the highest level in sport and studies. 

Eighteen Scottish universities and 25 colleges form the Winning Students network. Students at network colleges and universities benefit from a dedicated co-ordinator to ensure they can balance their studies and sport effectively.

“The course I’m doing links in well with being an athlete,” he explained.  “The College is supportive particularly around being away for training camps.

“And the support I get from Winning Students has been a huge help as well, especially since September when I got injured or for when I’m travelling.

“When you are going to places like Japan and competing maybe six times a year abroad it’s expensive so the extra funding from Winning Students definitely helps.”

Although judo will not be a sport in next year’s 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Ferguson is working towards his ultimate goals of World Championships and Olympic Games.

“After Morocco I’ve got domestic events, the English and Irish Open in April and May, followed by World Cups in June, Belarus and Romania, then Japan again for a two month training block,” he said.

“Hopefully I’ll be medalling at more World Cups this year and possibly get a Grand Prix event, which is a step up from World Cups, at the end of the year. 

“I want to win everything and if you are looking for anything less than that I don’t really see the point in being involved in the sport.

“You have to give 100 percent and try and achieve everything.”