Countdown to the Olympics . . . with Sophie Johnstone

Sophie Johnstone.
Sophie Johnstone.
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WELL, what a year 2011 has been! I think the best way to describe it is as a year of highs and lows.

At the beginning of the year, I began my comeback from a long-term injury and, after a lot of hard work, I was delighted to win gold medals at the Swiss Open and Sarajevo European Cup.

However, I was brought back down to earth with a bump, when I discovered that the selectors did not consider these performances enough to include me in the British team that went to the European Championships in April.

Subsequently, I sustained another knee injury, which has continued to niggle me this year, and meant I was out of contention for the World Cups and World Championships over the summer and early autumn.

This was followed by the news that I had been cut from the British Judo Association’s list of funded players, which was a massive blow for my Olympic ambitions.

I competed in a series of World Cups over the last couple of months, but a combination of bad draws, illness, and ultimately below-par performances meant I did not achieve the results I knew I was capable of.

However, one thing I was able to gain was some beneficial experience, which will stand me in good stead going into next year.

I now have six weeks until the British Championships, and today began my new strength and conditioning training programme.

I have training camps from December 18-21 and from 26-30, so while I will have a few days off over Christmas, I will near enough train straight through, and I am looking forward to getting a good training block in.

I also had the news last week that I am to be one of the Olympic torchbearers next year, so it is little things like that which give you a boost.

I am excited about next year, who knows what it may bring?

The only thing I can be certain of is that I will continue to train hard, do my best and make the most of all the opportunities that come my way.

All the best for 2012!