Duke Didier looking for Commonwealth Games gold in judo at Glasgow

Move over Prince Philip – there’s a new Duke in Scotland.

Duke Didier is in Glasgow armed with a royal reputation, and the Duke of Canberra says he’s ready to prove himself as judo king of the Commonwealth.

The Duke of Canberra: Duke Didier.
The Duke of Canberra: Duke Didier. Photo: Melissa Adams

The ex-Marist College boy proudly strode out as part of Team Australia at Celtic Park for Wednesday’s Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, attended by the Queen and her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Philip has held that title for 67 years, so long now it was bestowed upon him when the Commonwealth’s largest sporting competition was still the fledgling British Empire Games.

But Didier is determined to carve out his own crown in the 100-kilogram class judo on Saturday.

"I’ve come here to fight and get a medal," Didier said.


"I feel a gold medal would entitle me to the Duke of Glasgow title as well."

It would sit nicely alongside his claim to being the Duke of Canberra, as well as alongside his coach Thomas Hill's Commonwealth Games gold medal he won at Manchester in 2002.

Didier inherited the title through birth and has built his reputation not only on the judo mat, but across Australia’s maturing mixed martial arts (MMA) scene.

The regally bred 25-year-old is the son of former Wallabies and ACT Brumbies front-rower Geoff Didier, commonly referred to as "The Duke" during his playing days.

He introduced his son to sport at a young age, allowing him to sample judo when he was a nine-year-old.

Midway through his teens, Didier decided to cull his other sporting exploits and focus on judo. It’s led him to Glasgow and, he hopes, on to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games.

"My dad’s coming over which is pretty cool, mum and dad. Hopefully I can draw on his accomplishments and make a few of my own," Didier said.

"My dad has been a huge inspiration for me, he’s my biggest idol."

But Didier snr isn't the biggest fan of his son's proposed future career in MMA.

He might have been a hard-nosed prop participating in the dark arts of the scrum, but even he finds MMA a bit brutal.

The pair used to wrestle when they were younger, and it took Duke until he was 15 before he beat his father.

It was a hard-earned victory that sent the delighted teenager scampering through the house to tell his mother.

Four years later, and Didier snr decided his wrestling days were done when his son picked him up and slammed him onto the new family couch, breaking it in the process.

His son has won all four of his MMA fights and sees a career in the fast-growing sport.

But it might take some time to convince his parents it's a good move.

"I'm not as enthusiastic about it as Duke is and I'm certainly not as enthusiastic about it as I am about his judo," Geoff Didier said.

"I go and watch, but I don't relax. It's very tough to watch your son in a cage knowing that if you don't win then you're going to lose – and you know you've lost.

"For me it's not pleasant and it's not something I encourage. I don't discourage it now, but initially I did."

But MMA is for when he gets back from Scotland. Until then, he'll solely be focused on staking his claim at Glasgow.