London 2012 Olympics: No Judo medal but Oates hopes efforts will inspire
COLIN Oates hopes his run to the medal section of the men’s under-66kgs event will help inspire the rest of Team GB’s judo fighters to Olympic success.
Oates, 29, produced a stunning third-round win over the world No 3, Tsagaanbaatar Khashbaatar, of Mongolia, to make it into the last eight. However, the Norfolk fighter was then unable to edge past Georgian Lashas Shavdatuashvili, who went on to reach the final. Oates went into the repechage, where he missed the chance of a bronze medal fight-off by losing to Jun-Ho Cho of Korea.
Britain has not won an Olympic medal in judo since the Sydney Games 12 years ago, but Oates believes with the likes of Scotland’s Euan Burton and heavyweight Karina Bryant still to fight, there are plenty of reasons to be positive. He said: “I really hope this spurs on the rest of the guys and girls to take a medal, because we have got great fighters to come and as you can see with myself today, upsets are here for the taking.
“I knew once you were in the last block that you had a chance. For me it didn’t work out, but once I digest it all, I guess seventh place at the Olympic Games is really a great achievement for myself.”
Oates believes come Rio 2016, British judo could be competing for medals again. He added: “Everyone has been working hard and pushing on. All the work from this will hopefully bear fruit a little bit further down the line.”
The roof almost came off the 7,000-capacity North Arena 2 as Oates revelled in his victory over Khashbaatar. The atmosphere was also electric again for both of his next fights.
Oates said: “I really wanted to take a medal, to inspire a generation, to drag more players into the sport. It is a great discipline for kids and has taught me a lot in life. Let’s hope now we can go on and take that medal.”
There was, though, no breakthrough for Rochdale fighter Sophie Cox, who lost her opening bout to An Kum Ae of North Korea, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist.
Cox felt the draw had not been kind to Team GB. “I have found over the last couple of years if I can get through my first fight, then I can go on to do well, so this one was make or break,” said Cox.
She turns 30 in December, but has not written off hopes of fighting at another Olympics in Rio.
She said: “I might be 29, but I still feel 25 in judo terms, But I will take a couple of months to take a look at things and see how British Judo want to go, but I will keep all doors open.”
Today sees Scot Sarah Clark, fifth at the European Championship earlier this year, compete at under-57kg and will take on fourth seed Automne Pavia in the first round.
Camberley judoka Daniel Williams enters the under-73kg and will go straight into the second round, where he meets 2008 Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Rasul Boqiev of Tajikistan.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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