BEARSDEN judo star Dominic Laing is setting his sights on Europe next year and if he can crack it the Rio Olympics could be his next stop.
The 18-year-old ruled the domestic roost this year with him claiming the U90kg gold at January’s Junior Commonwealth Judo Championships in Cardiff.
And the Sporting Judo Club Alba member followed that up by defending his title at the Scottish Age Bands Championships in September.
But despite these two visits to the top step of the podium it is his form on the European circuit that has concerned Laing - his best performance coming in March when he finished seventh in Portugal.
However the former Bearsden Academy pupil is adamant he can change this next year.
Laing said: “It has been a good year for me domestically and it really started right at the beginning when I won the Commonwealth title.
“I also defended my Scottish title in September, which was good although after that I had surgery on my nose but I should be back competing in January.”
Looking ahead he said: “I want to come back in time for the British trials in January because I want to get selected for the team to get some more European events under my belt.
“I never seem to do that well on the European stage for some reason, with my best result in Portugal.”
Fighters from other European countries tend to be full-time and train from the age of 14, so Laing has his work cut out for him.
He added: “This is just the way it is, so it is all about getting on with that and that is what I intend to do.”
Laing looked on this summer as Great Britain claimed two surprise judo medals at London 2012 – silver for Gemma Gibbons and bronze for Katrina Bryant and admitted he is now thinking about his own Olympic adventure.
He said: “It got me thinking about it for myself and that is definitely the aim now, a major international competition, and that is what I will be working towards.”
Laing is is currenlty on the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes, which is a partnership with SportsAid, that supported 170 of Scotland’s most talented developing athletes on their journey towards London 2012.
As part of Bank of Scotland’s commitment to leaving a sporting legacy, the programme will continue into 2013 and more information can be found at facebook.com/bankofscotlandlocalheroes