Judo star Ashley McKenzie broke down in tears after being knocked out of the Tokyo Olympics.
The 32-year-old was the only Brit to qualify for the men’s -60kg tournament, but was thoroughly outwitted and outmuscled by Azerbaijani Karamat Huseynov in a first-round match on Saturday.
McKenzie, competing at his third Olympics, was bitterly disappointed with his performance and even apologised to his mum after the defeat.
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“At the moment, I’m mostly sad,” he said afterwards.
I’ve put in a lot of work for this one tournament. Loads of things went wrong when I got over here, and I just pushed them aside and I tried to not let them affect me due to Covid and stuff like that.
“I’m strongly sorry for the people that put so much energy into me.
“My mum, a lot of the ones that love me, it just hurts to see that they’ve probably woken up to watch me.
“And I had one fight, and it didn’t go the way I wanted it to. I just want to go home.”
McKenzie came ninth at Rio 2016 and had aspirations for fighting for an unlikely medal at Tokyo 2020.
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Athletes who have been eliminated have a limited window to leave the Olympic village and McKenzie will be expected to make a swift return to the UK.
The Londoner credits Judo with saving his life, but Team GB will have further opportunities on the mat in Japan.
Gemma Howell (-70kg), Natalie Powell (-78kg) are taking part in their second Games, while Olympic newcomers Chelsie Giles (-52kg), Lucy Renshall (-63kg) and Sarah Adlington (+78kg) are all set for debuts.
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