Who are you?

My name is Lisa Kearney and I am 26 years old.

How did you get into sport?

I have been participating in my sport, Judo, for 18 years, with the last 7 of those years as a full time athlete. Born in Belfast I come from a nation in which Judo is a minority sport. Therefore to achieve my ambitions I moved to Edinburgh at 19 to train full time at Judo Scotland, a GB centre of excellence.

My career has not been as easy one, fraught with injury problems and the usual adversities any athlete must endure. However a strong support network including my coach Ciaran Ward who has been with me since I first took up the sport at 8 years old, the sports institute Northern Ireland and both sports councils north and south of the border, have allowed me to overcome these challenges.

What have you achieved?

My greatest achievement to date is becoming the first ever female in my country to compete at an Olympics Games in the sport of Judo. Another great achievement was winning bronze at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and more recently bronze at the Turkey grand prix. I frequently represent Ireland on the world stage participating at the highest level of competition in my sport including European and world championships.

How does psychology influence your performance?

As well as being a full time athlete, I am a part time psychology student at Heriot-Watt University. I am very passionate about psychology and believe it’s essential to have a strong mental game in the competitive world of sport. Mental strategies feature frequently in my daily training and competition participation, in particular remaining composed and focused to allow fast decision making in a very dynamic sport.