FIVE years ago, Kim Renicks was one of the most recognisable faces in Scottish sport. In the summer of 2014, the Bellshill judoka won Scotland’s first gold medal of the Commonwealth Games, before her sister, Louise, repeated the feat just an hour later.

These days however, Renicks is having to crowdfund in an attempt to raise enough money for her to achieve her dream of competing in the Olympic Games. Tokyo 2020 is now less than nine months away and the 31-year-old is doing everything she can to ensure she in on the plane to Japan next summer.

Renicks is not funded by British Judo due to her decision not to relocate to the national centre in Walsall. As a -48kgs fighter, there is not the competition at the centre to make it worth her while and so instead, she chooses to base herself at Camberley Judo Club, near London.

This decision however, has left her needing to make up the funding elsewhere, which has forced her into some creative thinking.

“It can be tough having to raise the money myself but it’s going well.

"I do a bonus-ball so people put money in and half of it goes to me and half of it goes back to the people who have bought a ticket,” she reveals.

"So over ten weeks, I get £590 and £590 goes back in as prizes. So there’s something in it for everyone who buys a ticket as well as for me. And other people who have won have said ‘just keep it’ so that’s a wee bonus when that happens because it’s money I didn’t expect to have.”

It is not an easy way to live though, admits Renicks. This weekend, she will compete in the Oceania Open, in Perth, Australia and knowing that she has limited funds does, at times, weigh on her mind.

“It is hard having to raise money like this," she said.

"The problem is that a sport like judo just isn’t out there as much as other sports. And a lot of companies who want to do sports sponsorship want to sponsor teams so it can be hard to find people who want to invest.

"Judo used to be the poor man’s sport but now, it’s really expensive. Going away to competitions is really expensive and when you’re away, you’re literally in and out, you don’t get the time to see anything.

"Often, I’ll arrive the day before I compete, fight the next day and then fly home the following day just because I can’t afford to stay for the entire event. I know that the money I save by flying home straight away can be used for another event so sometimes, I’ll be on a flight at 4am just to get back home.

It does weight on my mind a little bit. I know I need results and so I do think about it. I try to take it a round at a time but at the same time, it’s hard to not think abut the money I spent to get there. And it’s hard to not think about the people who gave me money – if I’m coming home with nothing, will they wonder what their money is for?”

Renicks is Britain’s top judoka at her weight, and is currently 53rd in the world. To make the team for Tokyo, she must improve her ranking but she has every belief that she has the capability of jumping up the world rankings. She has already beaten a number of high-ranked players in recent seasons, she just need to do it more consistently and she will then, she believes, shoot up the rankings. So even during the tough times, Renicks reveals that she has never lost her self-belief.

“I’ve had times when I’ve wondered if this is for me anymore but I spoke to my coach and said I was thinking of retiring and he said no, he really believes in me," she said.

"As an athlete, you have down times, you have times when you feel like you’re stuck but you just need to get out of that. I believe I can get to Tokyo though – there’d be no point doing this if I didn’t believe in myself.

"I know that if I pull out a few results, I’ll shoot right up the rankings, it’s just getting those results. I’m beating good girls, I’m just not doing it all in the same day so I need to be more consistent. That’s down to be though, that’s me making silly mistakes. But if I didn’t believe in myself, I wouldn’t be wasting my money and I wouldn’t be giving up having a normal life.”

The Tokyo Olympics may still be nine months away but in sporting terms, that is nothing. Renicks knows how quickly the end of the qualifying period will come around and she admits that she the prospect of getting on the GB team is constantly on her mind.

“Every time I go to a competition, I think about qualifying for the tea, for Tokyo," she said.

"I’ll be thinking, I need to get this result or I need to beat this person. The time is going so fast though, April, May-time is the cut-off so by then, I’ll know. And that’s only five months left. So I just need to do everything I can.”