St Helens’ Commonwealth gold medallist Chris Sherrington has revealed how judo helped turn his life around.
The Billinge judoka won Sunday’s thrilling heavyweight judo final, beating South Africa’s Ruan Snyman to claim gold.
But the 30-year-old Royal Marine, who played rugby for a number of amateur outfits before joining the forces, said sporting glory was the further thing from his mind nine years ago.
“None of this would have been possible without the backing and help of the Royal Marines,” he said.
“I came back from Iraq and I had a bit of stress and I tried to vent it through sport. At first, it didn’t work.
“Then I remembered that I did judo as a kid.
I didn’t particularly like it and wasn’t very good at it, but I remembered how tough it was.
“So I threw myself into it and put all my frustration into it. Within 12 months, I was third in Britain and 12 months after that I was number one.”
Asked whether he had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, he said: “I don’t know. I did go a little bit off the rails. My mum and dad were very worried about me.
“At the time, I just thought I was normal, but I was very open to suggestion and a little bit volatile as well.
“We got through it - and that’s the magic of judo. There are people all over the world with problems and issues and this cures them.”
Sherrington, who has lived in Edinburgh for the past ten years and represented Scotland at the Games, added: “There are people with physical and mental disabilities and it makes their lives better. Judo’s a magical sport.”
“Today was a very good day. We came out fighting as we always do and thankfully the best man won on the day.
“This is the best team Scotland have ever had and we showed it by levelling with England on the medal table.”
Having been granted a full-time sports draft to get in shape for the Games in Glasgow after fighting at the 2012 Olympics, Sherrington will now return to military service.