Judo has long been a part of Adrian Leat’s life, and now he has his mind set on just one thing: Competing at the Rio Olympic Games.
And it is no small dream.
Twenty-eight-year-old Leat has been training since he was six, dedicating much of his life to honing his skill and his passion.
“Ever since I was six years old I have trained, learned, sacrificed, competed, won, lost, picked myself up and trained some more,” he says in a plea to help reach his goal.
Training for the Olympic Games in August is not for the weak, and it doesn’t come cheap. It will cost Leat $20,000 to train, qualify and get to Rio. And not competing is not an option.
“As a Kiwi athlete, there is no greater dream than to compete at the Olympic Games, he says. To show the world what we are made of and to feel that national pride on a world stage,” he adds.
“Judo in New Zealand receives very little funding from Sport New Zealand. So I have always sacrificed my own money, and have had to rely on the charity of my family and friends to support my costs to train and compete,” he says.
But Leat isn’t doing this for the money. What drives him is a passion for the sport he excels at and a love for his brother whom he has vowed to honour.
As one of his biggest supporters, Leat shared the Olympic dream with his older brother Alister, who, ever since they were kids, trained, competed, and travelled together.
With talent and drive, they pushed each other to succeed and succeed they did with Adrian winning a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games last year; that’s in spite of an insurmountable loss.
Leat’s brother passed away in February 2014 while the pair competed for qualification in Bulgaria. The following months proved a testing time and he was very close to giving up.
But with the support of those around him, Leat took home the silver, dedicating the award to his brother.
The next six months will be the most gruelling as he works hard again.
Gaining qualification for Rio will be his sole focus and will mean extensive international travel to compete for vital ranking points in the elite level competition, and off-shore based training where he can train with the best in the world.
Competing in the Olympic Games is the ultimate goal for him and with the public’s help his hope is to be there to make his family, his country, and his brother proud.
“I made a silent promise to my brother that I would never give up on my dreams, and that I would live my life to the fullest, for both of us,” he says.
“That is what has kept me going through the dark days. Now I am living this dream for both of us, and this has only increased my motivation to get there.”
Video: An inspiring showcase of Leat’s skills and what it takes to train, fight, and compete in judo
You can donate towards Leat’s dream here: