Promising judoka Eryk Neumann believes that watching his first home Commonwealth Games will motivate him to reach the top of his sport.
The 17-year-old prospect from Sutton Coldfield may not remember much of the 2012 Olympic Games in London ten years ago, but he is excited to tune in this time around when the Commonwealth Games is hosted in Birmingham over the next two weeks.
Neumann is already well on his way to the top of judo, having won the silver medal at the 2021 Cadet British Championships in Sheffield.
And he believes that seeing a Commonwealth Games on home soil can only boost his hopes of one day competing on the same stage.
“I actually have not watched any of the Commonwealth Games in the past, so this is going to be the first one,” said Neumann, who has been selected for Aldi’s Rising Stars programme.
“I think it is going to be quite motivating and that it will give me even more motivation to train, especially since it is so local.
“Seeing that it is so close makes it a little bit more real.”
Aldi are now working in partnership with SportsAid to support 20 young athletes on their journey to becoming future Olympians and Paralympians – including Neumann – and helping them to eat like a champion.
Each year, athletes are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of more than 60 sports based on set criteria. The Rising Stars athletes will be receiving financial support through Aldi, and will also be supported with a monthly food voucher, to fuel them through training, competitions and to future Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Neumann is currently at a training camp in Poland, preparing for the English Closed Championships on 3rd September.
The Hardy Spicer 83 Judo Club star took bronze at his last major competition, the 2022 English Cadet Open in Thetford.
But this time around, Neumann has had to fight struggling internet connection to find out which of his heroes will be in action when judoka from around the world take to the mat in Birmingham.
Neumann said: "I am in Poland for a training camp now, and every time I try to look up the judo team, it does not load, so I cannot tell who is going to be fighting until the day of the event.
On the day of the event, I will see who is fighting.
"It would mean a lot to me to one day compete at a home Games.
"It would be great to see everyone around me and to see the crowd get behind me, what with it being a home crowd. I think it would definitely be a great experience."
Neumann dreams of one day winning a gold medal at an Olympic Games. He emphasised how inspired he has been by the build-up for the Commonwealth Games.
He added: "Seeing the build-up to Birmingham has definitely inspired me.
"Seeing the build-up has been amazing because I have never really seen anything like it before.
"I will check some other stuff out as well, I think. ."
Aldi is the Official Supermarket Partner of Team GB and ParalympicsGB and have partnered with Team GB since 2015, ParalympicsGB since 2022 and will be supporting them through to Paris 2024