M: Where did you grow up? Was your family very active/into sport?
T: I grew up in Wembley London. My family was not very active but active enough. My mum was a great supporter of me and took me to try lots of different sports. One was judo.
M: What activities did you do as a kid (sports, music, art, etc)? When did judo start for you and was it your favorite?
T: I did judo and athletics. My older brother (by 6 years) did it judo so I wanted to try it as soon as I was allowed.
M: Do you cross-train with other sports now? Do you ever take time off from training (periodization)?
T: For cross-training, I don't just stay on mat but do rowing, circuits with weights, and have dabbled in gymnastics and pilates. As far as periodization goes, I don’t take masses of time off but schedule different volumes throughout year. I usually have down periods after competitions.
M: How often do you train? What is a typical session like? Do you work with a coach or develop your own training plans?
T: Right now, I train 10-15 sessions a week. It’s not typical apart from randori which is fighting practice for 1.5-2hrs. I spend 1hour sessions on tech circuits and weights intervals.
M: How many calories to you consume in a day? What is your meal plan like? Do you work with a nutritionist and/or take supplements?
T: I don’t overly calorie count try to eat healthy. When I am cutting weight, I just reduce portions sizes and the amount of carbohydrates I eat. I do work with nutritionalists periodically. The important thing is eating at the right times. I do take supplements. In fact, I only just started taking protein just for that 20min post-training window. I also take glucosamine, vitamins, beta alanine, amino acids, HMB, ZMA, colostrum, and cod liver oil as needed in my training schedule.
M: What do you love about judo? Do you ever get frustrated with it or wish the rules were different?
T: I love getting to fight and train everyday and make it my career. I love the traveling too. It can be frustrating relying on other people though. A few years ago the judo rules change and my favorite move was banned. But, as in all sports you develop, so I have changed my style and got a few sneaky new moves.
M: Have you ever tried any other martial art disciplines? If so, what did you think?
T: I have tried Brazilian ju jitsu. It is ok (basically it is judo’s ground work) but I didn’t massively like it as it was a change from what I normally do. It is also a lot slower which gives you fewer chances to score. Everyone likes winning and scoring.
M: What qualities do you think are essential in a coach?
T: A coach should have skills in listening, lots of knowledge, be understanding and have the ability to self evaluate themselves. My coach is very composed and is a thinker. He is relaxed and doesn’t respond with knee jerk reactions.
M: What do you think it takes to be an Olympic athlete?
T: Obviouslty, it takes drive and motivation. You have to create a high performance environment for yourself. It helps to not have any barriers in the way (e.g. funding). You do need a little talent but I can name 20 people in my peer group who did better than me as cadets but up to 16 of them (for various reasons) are not still competing.
M: What are your overall career goals with judo?
T: I want to have no regrets. With my potential, I believe I can medal on the biggest stages-European World Cup, Grand Slam Worlds, and hopefully Olympics.
M: Are there any sports you would like to try but haven't yet?
T: Something that challenges you but is fun like ultimate frisbee and parkour.
M: I understand you have some Olympic tickets. Which events are you going to see? What are you looking forward to with the Olympics (competing, London as a setting, the energy, the multi-culturalism, etc)?
T: I am looking forward to the world coming to London- the party atmosphere, big screens in parks etc. I have tickets for judo and beach volleyball. My brother got weightlifting, athletics, and wrestling tickets so if I play my cards right, it could be a busy couple of weeks.
M: Do you have any mantras or favorite quotes that motivate you to train or compete?
T: “Success is not a destination. It’s a journey.” That keeps me going. I also like “The ups and downs and the downs and ups are what make us.”
M: Judo has allowed you to quite a bit of traveling. Where is your favorite place in the world so far and why?
T: Thailand was just completely different. I loved the food, culture and how nice the people were.
M: There isn't much out there in the web about you. What do you want people to know about?
T: (LOL) Judo isn’t really high profile and I haven’t achieved much yet. There is more to come. Just watch this space. Nah, I am a massive believe in the power of sport and activity and how it can change lives. I dread to think where I would be if I hadn’t have gone back to judo after a brief exodus as a teenager. Judo has changed me as a person and provided me with all my opportunities. At 17, I could have been doing anything....and I guarantee it wouldn’t have been as good as this.
Tom and I at a Sport Makers Beyond 2012 Event, ExCel Centre, London