Army judoka ready to relish Commonwealth Games debut

Corporal Sarah Hawkes will represent Northern Ireland when she fights in the +78 category on the 3 August.

Army corporal Sarah Hawkes is ready to make her Commonwealth Games Judo debut.

The judo star who serves with the Royal Military Police will represent Team NI (Northern Ireland) on the judo mat in Birmingham this summer in the +78kg division.

Judoka Sarah Hawkes appears to be peaking at the right time after enjoying podium success, claiming bronze at the European Open in Cluj Napoca, Romania.

Corporal Hawkes told Forces News the European Open was a "good confidence boost going into the Commonwealth Games".

"To come away with a medal was absolutely fantastic," she said.

The Northern Ireland judoka – who also won a bronze medal at the African Open in Dakar last year said when she was officially told she had made the team, it was indescribable, the feelings were "just immense".

She added: "I think the special thing about it is, that the Commonwealth Games is the only tournament where I specifically get to represent Northern Ireland, whereas any other time I'm competing internationally is for Great Britain.

"So it's actually nice to get to represent my wee country as it were, Northern Ireland, it's a really lovely feeling."

The corporal has enjoyed "great support" from the Army throughout her judoka career.

"The Army has been a great support throughout, particularly my unit, 156 Provost Company.

"I have just received nothing but positive support throughout, both financially and, you know, just constantly checking in, and the unit making sure I'm doing well and congratulating me on results and things."

Corporal Hawkes will relish the chance to compete in front of friends, family and colleagues when she fights in the +78 category on the 3 August.

The Commonwealth Games start on 28 July and runs until 8 August.