Tom Davis will mark history when stepping on the mat tomorrow at the Commonwealth Judo Championships in Jaipur, India. No Jamaican Judoka has ever competed at such a stage. Davis will not only mark history as carrying the Jamaican flag for the first time but also considered to be one of the medal hopefuls.
The Jamaican Judo Association has been recently established, which not only accommodates judo on the island of love but also allows athletes across the globe to represent their heritage. The latter applies for Davis, who owns his Jamaican nationality from his father. The former British judoka express his thoughts on drawing history under the Jamaican flag;
“I am extremely excited about this opportunity, it is something I thought about a little while ago but for whatever reason, it wasn’t right at that time and of course, Jamaica had no existing governing body for judo at the time. When I heard that Dwayne and Szandra had actively ignited judo on the island with the aim of providing the wonderful opportunity of Judo across Jamaica and inspiring the next generation it was something I new I wanted to be part of, even if to support. Thankfully, after all it inspired me to do better myself and dust of the Gi and see how far I can take this opportunity.”
A few years back, Davis was forced to step down from his elite carrier when suffering an injury which resulted him missing out on crucial selections to maintain his elite athlete lifestyle. Injuries are athletes worst enemies and it is often really tough to bounce back to the top after a significant harm. Now fully recovered, the 35-year-old judoka looks back to review his thoughts at the time;
“There were times, when I was demotivated with trainings due to my injury and although it gave me tough times at the time, judo has been such a big part of my life that I don’t think it leaves you for long, if ever. Being part of something bigger is the driving force, I love the fact that I can show my kids that if you have an ambition ‘go for it’. I love the fact that they will be able to share that with me. And now, that judo is part of a much bigger movement on the island, it hugely motivates me to inspire the next generation of Judoka as well. Like I said, it is definitely something I want to support. Since last competing, I have been working with young people from various backgrounds resigning aspiration.”
A mixture of excitement and nerves is await for all supporting Davis on his remarkable journey. It will not be the first time for Davis to win a Commonwealth title as he has already established such a result for Team England back in days. How would it feel to conquer this result under the Jamaican flag?
“Davis: My gold for England was a little while ago now but to repeat any medal would mean a great deal to me and it hopefully would be the start of something much bigger for Jamaican Judo and myself.”
When asked what are the hopes in India, Davis replied;
"I am hoping to perform well, this will allow me see where I am at the international judo scene. So I know what I need to do to progress to further internationals next year. I try not to say what will happen but as long as I perform I won’t be disappointed. Anyhow, I wanted to say a huge thanks to the Jamaican Olympic Association and the Jamaican Judo Association in supporting this milestone journey and believing in me and the sport judo.”
Davis will be competing tomorrow, 7th of November at the Master category and on Saturday, 10th of November at the Senior group. Updated results will be published on our website. Good luck Tom!