Commonweath honours in the sights of judo ace Kunzi

A trainee primary teacher studying through the University of Chichester is involved in two of the biggest judo competitions in his career in the space of three days.

John Kunzi, 30, who is studying on the graduate teacher programme and is one of the university’s gifted sports scholars for 2011-12, has headed to Cardiff for the Commonwealth Judo Tournament at the Millennium Centre.

Kunzi had already qualified for the grand masters section for 30 to 34-year-olds by winning a silver medal in the Welsh Open masters event in October, a major achievement in its own right.

However, he also won silver at the senior England Trials, guaranteeing him a place in the main competition, something he considers to be the best result of his career so far.

He said: “I spend four days training with the Olympic squad and other members of the Great Britain team over Christmas and New Year and in the past two weeks, I have been doing a session every day.

“I spent very little time with my family over the festive period, and juggling the training with the studying is extremely difficult, but I have had a lot of support from the university, particularly my tutor Cheryl Letts.”

He is not among the favourites in either section – currently seventh in the GB rankings and not being a full-time athlete, he knows he faces a tough challenge to bring home a medal, but it is something he believes is within his capabilities.

He said: “The competition is going to be extremely hard as this is the Olympic year and many players will be using this as preparation for the games in their pre-Olympic calendar of events.

“Nigeria, Jamaica, Australia and Singapore all have strong players in my weight group, not to mention the players from the other home nations who qualified in my weight.”