Ashley McKenzie is an Olympic judo athlete and competed at the London Olympics.
He was ejected from his first primary school in Queen’s Park and went to a special needs school, where he was diagnosed with ADHD and OCD.
Ashley first became involved with judo at 11 years old. From the age of 14, he alternated between being the star of the youth team and being its liability. However, there was never any doubt over his talent and he has proven himself many times. He won a bronze medal at the European junior championships and gold at the senior British Open for three years running.
He has spent time in a young offenders’ institution and was banned from judo for one month, then three months, then six months, for drinking and fighting.
Since taking up judo, Ashley has held the junior number one ranking for his weight category, won bronze at the European Junior Championships and earned Senior British Open gold.
Ashley was a hopeful at the London Olympics but the 23-year-old was knocked out in the first round of the men’s -60kg category, losing to eventual silver-medallist, Hiroaki Hiraoka.
Ashley is proud that judo has changed his life for the better. “I wasn’t the greatest of kids, I was always fighting. Now I’m calm, more mellow and look where it’s got me”.