Updated: Monday, 20th November 2017 @ 5:34pm

Swill he make it to Japan? Teen Stockport judo star Eric Ham hopes to trot to 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Swill he make it to Japan? Teen Stockport judo star Eric Ham hopes to trot to 2020 Tokyo Olympics

| By Marios Papaloizou

When the eyes of the world fall on Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics one Stockport teenager is hoping he will be representing Britain in the birthplace of his sport.

At just 16, Eric Ham has been practising judo since the age of four and already has a host of competitions under his black belt.

Despite being the youngest in his category at last year’s British Championships, Ham was still able to take a silver medal and believes it is only a matter of time before he claims top spot.

“My all-time goal is to reach the Olympics, hopefully Tokyo in 2020 or even 2024,” said Ham, who is an SSE Next Generation ambassador. 

“I started judo when I was four and I have carried it on ever since and been doing it for 12 years."

With three consecutive wins in the British Cadet Championships in 2010, 2011 and 2012, Ham believes he has the know-how and temperament to win on the big stage.

“My highlight so far is winning the British championship three times and last year I got selected for the European Championships," he added.

“The Europeans last year were in Estonia but I was a first year cadet so I won one fight and lost one but I am hoping to better that this year and get on the podium as I am a top year cadet now.

“I loved it and hopefully I can get selected for this year’s Europeans in Greece this summer, along with England selections for a whole host of events.”

While Ham is keeping his feet on the ground selection shouldn't be an issue for the highly-rated youngster.

And, even though he is at an age where he will be competing against older and heavier opponents, Ham is unfazed by the challenge and is confident of taking on anyone who stands in his way.

“I fight in the under 66kg division and I was only 55kg last year too and have had a big growth spurt and hopefully I can improve on last year,” he said.

“I am top of the European ranking list so I am pretty much nailed on to get selected which is good as I can’t be caught.

“The British Championships were in December and I was a first-year junior then.

“Last time I got silver being second youngest in the group and hopefully I can better that this year.”

With a decade of judo experience Ham is excited at the prospect of helping the sport to grow.

And, after seeing how London 2012 increased participation, he wants to help inspire the next generation of judo stars.

“The London Olympics was great for judo and very inspirational because we picked up two medals which doesn’t normally happen.

“It inspired the nation and gave the sport a higher profile and now more people are getting involved.”

SSE are partnering with SportsAid to support the sporting stars of the future as part of their commitment to Glasgow 2014 and beyond with their SSE Next Generation ambassador programme. Keep up to date with the latest @YourSSE