Sky’s the limit for Edinburgh judo star: Why Sarah Clark is backing Dylan Munro to reach the top

Rising Edinburgh judo star Dylan Munro has been tipped for the top after making his big breakthrough on the international stage.

Saturday, 30th October 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Saturday, 30th October 2021, 10:32 am
Dylan Munro, coached by Billy Cusack at Edinburgh Judo Club, is in top form heading into next week's Under-23 European Championships in Budapest

After bagging European Cup bronze in Croatia this month and following it up with silver at the higher-level European Open in Spain, Munro is in the form of his life going into next week’s Under-23 European Championships in Budapest.

Sarah Clark, the former Olympian and 2014 Commonwealth Games champion who runs Edinburgh Judo Club, believes the sky's the limit for the 21-year-old Edinburgh University student.

She has monitored Munro’s progress with interest since he joined the club as a five-year-old and believes he has all the attributes to reach the 2024 Paris Olympics.

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“Growing up, Dylan was the kid who would always keep coming to training, no matter what,” Clark told the Edinburgh Evening News.

“Although he wasn’t the most outstanding young player we have ever had, he always worked the hardest. Judo was and still is the big thing in his life.

“Dylan has a really good network of people around him in the club and Scottish set up. He’s got good family support too.

“But it’s mainly about him. He is always striving to improve and I think he has that resilience and determination to succeed at as high a level as he wants to push for.”

Munro’s breakthrough in recent weeks is the culmination of four years of full-time training, which he is now combining with his English literature and history studies.

The lightweight under-60kg player divides his six-days-a-week training time between his club, where he is coached by the Billy Cusack, and the national performance centre at Ratho. All the hard work is now translating into results.

“His last two competitions have been excellent,” explained Clark. “That came on the back of a bit of doubt after Covid interruptions and his performance in a couple of previous tournaments when things were not quite clicking.

“I think now that he is trusting the process, trusting the coaching and strength and conditioning, he has moved forward really well. Step by step, the improvement has been clear.

“The European Open in Malaga was a step up, so winning a silver medal was fantastic.

“He beat the British No1 in the semi-final, won his contests in spectacular fashion and only lost in the final to the French player, so he’s announced himself on the international stage and he’s on a great path.”

Recent results mean the former Stewart’s Melville schoolboy is now in pole position to be selected by Scotland for next summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

He can more or less cement his place in the team with another solid performance in Budapest.

According to Clark, the Under-23 European Championships represents another step up in class but she reckons Munro can make it onto the podium again.

“If Dylan fights to his best ability, then a medal is definitely achievable,” she added. “I’m sure of that. He heads there in great shape.

“It’s a big thing being selected at this level.

“I think he can do well again and he is now showing he has what it takes to go a long, long way in the sport.”