The British Olympic Association (BOA) has today announced 14 athletes that will represent Team GB in the men’s and women’s judo events at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Team GB will fulfil the maximum allocation by selecting an athlete for each of the seven weight categories in both the men’s and women’s events. The Great Britain team have won seven silver medals and nine bronze medals since judo was introduced at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, but were unable to win a medal in either of the past two Games in Athens and Beijing.
The selected athletes are:
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In the men’s -81kg category is Euan Burton, who made British history in 2009 by winning the Kano Cup. No British judoka had ever won the Kano Cup before, and he did it by overcoming South Korean Kim Jae-Bum – who won silver at the Beijing Olympics and is seeded second for London – by ippon in the final.
In the women’s +78kg is Karina Bryant, who won an eighth career European Championships medal in April by taking bronze in Chelyabinsk – this will be her fourth Olympic Games appearance for Team GB and her experience and ability make her a realistic medal contender. Meanwhile Gemma Howell is on particularly fearsome form in the women’s -63kg and has won her last four tournaments, including two European Cup and two World Cup events.
After taking a lengthy sabbatical from the sport in Thailand, 30-year-old Sophie Cox also returns to Team GB. She represented Britain at the 2004 Athens Games in the -57kg category but will compete in the -52kg category in London.
The judo contest takes a knock-out format. The two winning semi-finalists contest the gold-medal bout, but the four judokas which lose in the quarter-finals drop into the repechage bracket. The two winners in the repechage will compete against the two defeated semi-finalists to decide the winners of the two bronze medals.
Each weight category will contest all of their bouts over the course of a single day, meaning that one men’s and one women’s category will be concluded daily between July 28th and August 3rd at the ExCel Centre in Docklands.
The addition of the judokas brings the total number of athletes officially selected to compete for Team GB at London 2012 to 328 across 28 sport disciplines: archery, athletics – marathon, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoe slalom, canoe sprint, cycling, diving, equestrian – dressage, equestrian – eventing, fencing, handball, hockey, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming, synchronised swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling.
Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said:
“It is very pleasing to announce a full complement of 14 judokas to compete for Team GB at London 2012. This is the first time we’ve been able to select an athlete in every weight category so it’s a great opportunity for British judokas to show that they are capable of, in front of an enthusiastic home crowd, on the greatest sporting stage.
“Great Britain has a proud tradition in the sport of judo, having claimed a fantastic tally of 16 Olympic medals since the sport’s introduction at the 1964 Games. A number of the talented athletes selected today have produced some outstanding medal winning performances in international competition since the last Olympic Games, and this should fill them with confidence that they can seize this once in a lifetime opportunity with both hands and challenge for the Olympic podium in London.”
British Judo Performance Director Daniel Lascau said:
“We will have 14 athletes – they will represent their clubs, country, British Judo and our membership. We start on the 28th and will approach it as our job making sure we’ve done everything possible to perform to our best and then respect the other sports as part of the fantastic Team GB.
“The crowd will be behind us, every time a GB judoka steps onto the mat you will hear it, every judoka will have an amazing experience, we must be proud of them and give them all the support we can.”
Euan Burton said:
“Being selected to Team GB for the London Olympic Games is a fantastic honour. As a judoka it is the chance to make British sporting history and become our first judo Olympic Champion. To have that opportunity on home soil is even more exciting and I am aiming at achieving just that in London on the 31st July.”
Karina Bryant said:
“I’m really proud to get to my fourth Olympic Games and to do so through the Olympic qualifying ranking list."
Ashley McKenzie said:
“I’m going to be doing the thing I love the most in front of the people I love the most. I’m a London boy and it just feels so right to be competing at the Olympic Games in my hometown.”
Gemma Howell said:
“It has been my dream to win an Olympic gold medal for as long as I can remember so I am so happy to have the opportunity to represent Team GB and try and achieve my dream.”
About Team 2012:
Team 2012, presented by Visa, is the official support programme for British athletes striving to be selected for Team GB and ParalympicsGB in 2012.
Alongside National Lottery and Exchequer funding, Team 2012 helps to raise funds to support 1,200 athletes from 47 Olympic and Paralympic sports and disciplines who are in training to be selected for Team GB and ParalympicsGB at London 2012. Funds raised are invested in six key areas across 47 different Olympic and Paralympic sporting disciplines:
Coaching and athlete management
International travel to both compete and train abroad
Medical support including sports psychology, physiotherapy, nutrition and intensive rehabilitation
Kit and equipment
Home Games preparations e.g. preparation camps
For more information on Team 2012, visit www.team-2012.com