Edinburgh judoka unafraid of Olympic champ

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Patrick Dawson does not mind if he comes face to face with Olympic champion Mansur Isaev at the European Judo Championships in Budapest tomorrow. After all, he beat the Russian only last month.

The Edinburgh player enjoyed his best international result when he toppled Isaev in the semi-finals of the Buenos Aires Open and then went on to take the title by beating Argentina’s Alejandro Clara by a yuko in the final.

The win moved Dawson up to 40th in the world for his weight category – and made him a name to be feared at the European Championships as the Under-73kg competition begins.

“Everything went right on the day and I was really happy with how it went,” the 24 year-old recalled.

“My coach that day – Irishman Ciaran Ward – told me that I should just go out and make a name for myself and it was a nice reward.

“Obviously, there are standout players in every weight category who are consistently doing 
well at European, World Championships and Olympic Games but the good thing about judo is that anyone can beat anyone.”

Dawson, a part-time student at Heriot-Watt University, did not take up judo until he was in his sixth year at George Watson’s College, but he has made remarkable progress since then.

“It was back in 2006 and one of my friends – Richard Cooke – was a British champion at the age of 17. He was on my bus a couple of days a week to go to his judo club and I just went along with him one day and didn’t look back,” he explained.

Dawson is one of six Scots competing at the European Championships as the training centre at Ratho continues its seemingly endless assembly-line of talent.

“There is a great coaching team in Judo Scotland and a good training mentality. Athletes like Euan Burton, Sarah Clark, Graeme Randall and David Somerville.

“I came into the set-up and these guys were my heroes.”

But is he not wary of an Olympic champion seeking quick revenge in Budapest?

“I hope I come up against Isaev again. I now know I can beat anyone in the world so I don’t go in with any fear.”