NEVER underestimate the importance of sibling rivalry as a motivational tool. As he carefully plots the path he hopes will lead to him representing Scotland at the next Commonwealth Games, Edinburgh-born judoka Cailin Calder admits he is spurred on by the thought of beating his big brother’s achievements as much as anything else.

Reece - four years his senior – has stepped back from competing but was a more than handy athlete in his day, winning a European bronze medal in 2017. He, along with dad Lee, are now Cailin’s coaching team, with the 22 year-old devoting all of his time to judo having quit his job as a sales assistant to turn full-time.

A new decade opens full of opportunity. Calder’s last significant act of the previous one was to become senior British champion for the first time at the start of December. That would represent a major milestone in its own right for any up-and-coming athlete but there is an added tone of playful glee in Cailin’s voice as he reveals that Reece is yet to celebrate such a landmark.

“I had been junior British champion before but to become senior champion represented a big step forward for me,” he said. “It also makes it harder in some ways now. You’re seen as the top person in that division and the one that everyone wants to beat. So you have to be ready for that.

“But it’s also given me a lot of confidence. I know I can win the big fights now. My older brother was British silver medallist before so my aim was always to go one better than him! I had been working on that for ages and now I’ve eventually done it. So he’s been hearing all about it.

“It’s funny as he wants me to do better than him and is happy for me doing well. Whereas I’ve always wanted to beat him. I think that’s normal when you’re the younger one.

“Reece is helping my dad coach me now and he wants to see me reach my full potential. Because he didn’t get to the levels he wanted to, he says he’s going to push me even more to make sure I make it.”

The National:

The chance to compete at the home of judo at the Tokyo Olympics this year has come around too soon for Calder. Instead, he has his sights trained on the rather less glamorous surrounds of Birmingham where the 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place, with half an eye also on the next Olympics in Paris two years later.

Eventually he hopes to forge a career in the police but in the meantime he is grateful to his sponsors for allowing him to dedicate himself to his craft for the next few years.

“My first goal is the Commonwealths and at that point I’ll decide if I’m going to keep going full-time or not,” he added. “I feel I’m in the right place now to get my head down and dedicate my life to judo. I’ve no other job or commitments so it’s really down to me whether I make a success of it or not.

“I’m doing some coaching as well at my dad’s club helping with the five to seven year-olds. They’re all daft at the age, running around with their trousers on their heads. Mind you, I was the same at that age.”

Calder, who competes in the -100kg category, now lives in Sauchie but remains an Edinburgh boy to his core. When he is not on the judo mat he can often be found watching his beloved Hibernian, although the ironic paradox - the better he performs, the less time he has to go to football – is not lost on him.

“I’ve got a season ticket at Easter Road so I go as often as I can,” he added. “But I’ve only been to three games or so this season. My judo schedule for the year is already looking pretty busy so I’m not sure I’m going to get to many more matches. But that’s the sacrifice you make.”

Next up for Calder is the Scottish Open in Inverclyde today. Normally filled with domestic opponents, an international flavour to this year’s event adds a new challenge.

“I’m looking forward to this one as since the New Year I’ve upped my training quite a lot,” he added. “It’s a good tournament as they’ve got Japanese and Swedish fighters taking part. I don’t know a lot of them so it makes it more interesting trying to figure out how to beat them. There’s always something to keep you on your toes.”