Already a man with champion experience following victory in the British Junior Championships, Ealing judoka Showgo Kimura knows what it takes on the big stage.
Now, with further funding and support also behind him, the 17-year-old is looking to push on and become one of the best in his sport.
Picked out as a potential star of the future, Kimura is one of 50 athletes – including Ealing’s Hannah Thurston – across a myriad of sports chosen to receive financial assistance and expert tutoring across 2017, all thanks to Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and SportsAid.
With an U55kg national title under his belt, Kimura is confident he can kick on to the next step, with the obvious carrot of the Olympic Games dangling firmly in front of him.
“I got to Nationals for the first time in 2012, got selected for the England squad and won in the junior division, which has taken me to the GB squad,” said the 17-year-old.
“It was a very proud moment, winning was pretty amazing and then getting the call for the GB squad really made me feel like part of the performance team.
“I finished second in the Seniors last year so the aim is to do one better in December and see where that takes me.
“Tokyo 2020 may be a bit early so four years after that may be the one for me to target, so representing GB at the Olympic Games is something I couldn’t imagine.”
This year’s RBC athletes stretch across 31 disabled and non-disabled disciplines with the individuals having been nominated to SportsAid by their sport’s national governing bodies.
That list includes lacrosse player Thurston, also on the programme last year, with this month marking a year since she took gold at the Home Internationals with England.
And the 17-year-old The Lady Eleanor Holles School student believes the experiences she has had both in and out of the sport have completely changed her life for the better.
“It’s a massive honour to be invited back with SportsAid and RBC, last year was a great opportunity with the support they gave me throughout the year, and the buddy scheme gave me the opportunity to do some work experience with them,” said Thurston, who plays with Centaurs Lacrosse Club.
“They gave me a completely different opportunity, varying from lacrosse, and the financial world was one I hadn’t really thought about before so it opened my eyes up to that.
“Last year I competed at the Home Internationals with the under-19 England team, which we won beating Wales and Scotland, and then last summer I had the opportunity to go on tour with the England team to the United States.
“The Home Internationals are coming up in a few weeks’ time, and it’s the international season at the moment so we’ve got matches against Japan and a touring American team.
“The main goal is 2019 and the next under-19 World Cup which is in Canada and should be really exciting.”
Royal Bank of Canada, one of the largest banks in the world and Canada’s largest bank by market capitalization, partners with SportsAid to provide financial support, ongoing mentoring and deserved recognition to 50 young talented British athletes looking to fulfil their sporting ambitions. For more information, please visit http://www.rbc.com/