So, who do we have? An Olympic athlete, a prince, a So Solid Crew member and some bird who text Vernon Kay to name a few.
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Ashley McKenzie is an Olympic Judo athlete and competed at the London 2012 Olympics.
Ashley became involved in Judo at the age of 11. His mum introduced him to the sport after he had an altercation with someone over Pokémon cards.
Ashley was ejected from his first primary school in Queen’s Park and went to a special needs school, where he was diagnosed with ADHD and OCD.
At the age of 14, Ashley oscillated between being the star of the youth team and being its liability. There was never any doubt over his talent, and he has proven himself many times, winning bronze at the European junior championships, and now gold at the senior British Open for three years running.
He has also spent time in a young offenders’ institution, and was banned from the sport for one month, then three months, then six months, for drinking and fighting.
Since taking up Judo, Ashley has held the junior number one ranking for his weight category, won bronze at the European Junior Championships and earned Senior British Open gold.
Ashley was a hopeful at the London Olympics but 23-year-old was knocked out in the first round of the men’s -60kg category, losing to eventual silver-medallist Hiroaki Hiraoka.
Ashley is proud that judo has changed his life for the better: “I wasn’t the greatest of kids, I was always fighting. Now I’m calm, more mellow and look where it’s got me.”