Bryant targets European success

21 April 2012 / 15:22

Great Britain judo heavyweight Karina Bryant is ready to put her body through the pain barrier again as she prepares to become European champion for a fifth time in Russia on the road towards London 2012 success.

An Olympic medal is all that is missing from the 33-year-old Camberley fighter's collection, having also delivered five silver medals from World Championships since 2003.

However, after battling to overcome a neck injury, which ruled her out for the first half of 2011, the experienced Olympian knows things will not get any easier when she looks to add another European crown in Chelyabinsk next weekend which would boost her hopes of securing a top-eight seed for London.

Bryant said: "Last year was quite difficult for me because I was pretty much out for the first six months with a serious neck injury which realistically needed surgery. However, I have got a great team around me and we did the rehabilitation.

"We all suffer niggly injuries along the way, because we are all demanding so much out of our bodies, but that comes with the territory of elite sport.

"Because I was not competing, my world ranking came down, which is not ideal. I managed to get back on track, winning a few bronze medals at the bigger tournaments.

"Now I am around 14th, so really I will need a gold or silver at the Europeans to rank in the top eight at the Olympics."

Competing at the Games will be nothing new for Bryant, but the veteran has unfinished business with the competition, having failed to make an impact in Beijing where she went out in the first round when tipped to make the medal fights.

"This will be my fourth Games, and for me, I can get everything physically right but if I do not switch on mentally, then at the end of the day, I might as well not turn up. It all has to come together on the day," she said.

"I just aim to get into the zone. I have worked with Dr Steve Peters, who is British Cycling psychologist, for a few years now, so I am in a lot better place now than I was in Beijing. I am looking forward to putting it all to the test on what will be the biggest day of my life in London."