British Judo chief eyes strong showing

28 March 2012 / 19:17

British Judo performance director Daniel Lascau will look for Team GB's elite fighters to take another step towards seeding for the Olympic Games with a strong showing at the European Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia, next month.

Following failure to deliver a medal at the 2011 World Championships, the decision was taken to replace the performing coaching staff in the hope of producing a credible performance in London, where judo will have host nation places across all seven weight divisions for both men and women.

Scotland's Euan Burton, a former European bronze medalist, and heavyweight Katrina Bryant, who has won four European titles, will be among those hoping to make an impact.

Norfolk fighter Colin Oates, who claimed a squad-best fifth place at the World Championships in Paris to add to his 2011 European bronze, will also be in action at the under-66kgs, while Ashley McKenzie, the European under-23, champion is also set for Russia.

Sophie Cox fights to match her European bronze last year in the -52kg.

Three promising youngsters have also been selected: junior world bronze medallist Hayley Willis, who only turned 16 in November, in the -48kg, fellow 16-year-old Kate-Jemima Yeats-Brown in the -63kg and junior European silver medallist Max Stewart, the 18-year-old son of 1988 Seoul Olympic bronze medallist Dennis Stewart, in the -73kg.

Lascau said: "We have a responsibility to nominate the best representative of the BJA and will do so by paying attention to the results of the players.

"I have said that if there is not a realistic chance for a senior judoka in London, then I have the courage to select a junior with one eye on Rio 2016.

"If the juniors can produce a surprise performance then they can go to London 2012, it's important to expose them to the top level of senior judoka."