GARY ROUSE has enjoyed a new lease of life since becoming a judo veteran and now he is hoping for a chance to take on the world.
The 43-year-old black belt third dan took up judo as a schoolboy, but admits he never really had the time to concentrate on competitions until he turned 35.
However, a bronze medal at the National Veterans' Championship in High Wycombe six years ago revived the Canterbury Judokwai member's competitive edge since when he has gone from strength to strength.
Further success followed including silvers at both nationals and Southern Area Championships, and only last November he finished eighth in the European Veterans Championships in Prague.
That performance gave Rouse, from Bekesbourne, a taste for international competition and now he has set sights on competing at the World Championships in Brazil in June.
Rouse said: "Until I became a veteran I'd never consistently competed. I'd always dipped in and out.
"I did the southern area championships when I was 30 and I found it really hard so I knocked it on the head for four of five years.
"You become veteran in judo at 35 but I was 37 when I thought if I'm going to stick with the sport and get real enjoyment I need to give it a bit more time.
"That is when I thought I'd give the nationals a bash. That was the catalyst for really getting back into it."
Rouse's trip to Prague was self financed but to make it to Brazil he needs to raise around £1,500 and he is already a third of the way there after a £500 donation from Cab Co, a Canterbury-based taxi company.
* Prospective sponsors are invited to contact Gary on 0798 4344693.