Young Guns Nekoda and Philip ready to go off to World Championships after securing backing from Canadian firm

Two of British judo’s young guns are relishing the chance to make an impact on the global stage at this month’s World Championships in Rio.

Nekoda Davis, 20, from Acton, and Philip Awiti-Alcaraz, 19, from Enfield, have both made the senior worlds squad for the first time and have also secured backing along the way from Canadian firm, Zecotek Photonics.

And both are looking forward to pitting their wits against the world’s best as they build up towards what they both hope will be a return to Rio in three years time for the Olympics.

“I’m really excited about going to Rio, it feels a surreal to be honest, but I can’t wait to get there and I think it will be a really good experience to be there before the Olympics,” said Davis, who will compete in the -57kg category.

“I think I’m ready to just go out there in the senior competition and just give a really good performance.

Junior European number one Davis steps up to the senior squad on the back of an outstanding international junior career, which included gold at a European Cup event in Kiev.

And she is not worried about who she might be up against in Rio this month.

“Whoever I face, I’m going to give them a really hard fight and I’ve done okay against some of the top senior fighters before, so I’m not too far off,” she continued.

“It will be nice to go out there where there isn’t the pressure to definitely medal this time, just go out there and win a couple of fights, let people know I’m around, work towards next year and Olympic qualifying and just represent the team.”

In contrast to pocket dynamo Davis, Awiti-Alcaraz is at the other end of the size scale in the -100kg division.

However, like Davis, he also heads to Rio in fine form after winning gold at the European Junior Cup event in Berlin earlier this year.

The towering Londoner also won a European Cup event in Bosnia as a junior and he hopes to be something of a surprise package in Brazil.

“It’s still sinking in that I’m actually going to the World Championships, I still can’t quite believe it,” he said.

“I’m really going there for the experience and to gauge where I am ahead of the Olympics and the guys I’ll be fighting out there will be the same people I’ll be meeting in three years.

“I don’t know too much about them but they don’t know too much about me either, so I’m an unknown quantity for them, and hopefully I can spring a surprise on one or two.

“If I can win a couple of fights then that would be great. If I got a medal, it would be a huge bonus.

“But the main thing is seeing where I am in terms of development ahead of starting qualifying for the Olympics next year.”

And qualifying will be made a whole lot easier when they have the right support.

Additional to their BJA Funding Programme and UKSport Lottery Funding personal awards, this dynamic pair of athletes have been given somewhat of a boost with funding from Zecotek Photonics.

The Canadian company, which makes laser, imaging and 3D display products, has pledged to fund the young players this year and next and so far have donated $2,000 Canadian Dollars.

In the past the same company have sponsored the Sergei Judo Camp in Switzerland and Singapore Judo Federation, in the latter preparing athletes for the South East Asian games taking place before the end of the year.

Words by John Smith, with additional reporting by Donna Richardson. Images Mike Varey.