Norfolk judoka hopes to make up for London 2012 disappointment at Commonwealth Games
06:30 24 July 2014
Norfolk Judoka Colin Oates will always be left to reflect on what might have been at London 2012, but is determined to continue his progress up the world rankings with a medal on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The 31-year-old – from North Lopham, near Diss, but now training out of the Edinburgh Ratho club alongside Judo Scotland – reached the Olympic quarter-finals of the half-lightweight under-66kgs before losing to eventual gold medallist Lasha Shavdatuashvili of Georgia.
A subsequent defeat to Cho Jun-Ho in the repechage, the Korean eventually going on to win the bronze fight-off, may continue to rankle Oates (pictured), but the Englishman feels he has become a stronger person for the experience with consistent results on the International Judo Federation circuit.
“Looking back, London was probably a missed opportunity,” he told Press Association Sport. “The guy I lost to, I fought him at the World Championships last year and beat him, which just added more to my frustrations.
“However, from that disappointment, it has actually inspired me, pushed me on harder, making me believe there is more to come from me.
“I always felt that I would peak at the Olympics, but strangely enough maybe it has been after the Games where I have really come along, climbing the world rankings up into the top 10.
“I have beaten some really high-class fighters, so it has been a really good period for me.
“It all seems to be coming together, and I just have to hold everything together now.
“I can now look to get a great result here at the Commonwealth Games and then push on over the next two years towards Rio.”
Oates has a first-round bye in Pool A, and, if both fighters progress, could come up against Team GB squad-mate James Millar – a late call-up to replace injured 100kg Scotland judoka James Austin – in the semi-finals.
While the two men are close friends off the Tatami, Oates maintains that will all be put aside for a few minutes once the buzzer sounds.
“When James was trying to qualify for the Scotland team, I was helping him out when he was away by covering his classes, so I guess I played a part in him getting here,” Oates said.
“We have fought each other a couple of times at big tournaments in the past.
“All of us (British) judo players have a good relationship off the mat, but when we fight, that focus all changes. You are not thinking about them as your friend or colleague - it is just, ‘this is the guy I am going to beat to get the medal’.”
Jamie MacDonald will fight for Wales in the under-66kgs, with four categories to be decided on Thursday.
There is also home nation interest in the women’s under-48kgs, with Scotland’s Kimberley Renicks.
Connie Ramsey will fight at under-57kgs, along with Stephanie Inglis. Nekoda Davis represents Team England, with Kirsty Powell fighting for Wales.
At under-52kgs, Glasgow’s Louise Renicks is in action, along with Lisa Kearney of Northern Ireland, while England’s Kelly Edwards has been drawn against Jade Lewis of Wales in the first round.
London 2012 Olympian Ashley McKenzie is determined to land gold in the men’s under-66kgs, which will also see Scotland veteran John Buchanan and Brandon Dodge of Wales in action.