The British Olympic Association (BOA) today announced that British judo players will be given the opportunity to utilise the maximum seven male and seven female Host Nation Qualification places to compete for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The decision was made following detailed consultations with British Judo Association (BJA).
BOA Chief Executive and Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said:
“I am delighted that 14 British judokas will have the opportunity to compete at London 2012. The athletes will now be able to focus on meeting their selection criteria and preparing themselves for competing in front of an enthusiastic home crowd in London. I’m confident that our judokas will grasp this special opportunity to inspire future generations of judo players across the UK.
“British judo has contributed consistently to Team GB in past Olympics, with Sydney 2000 silver medallist Kate Howey performing Team GB Flag Bearer duties at Athens 2004. In Beijing four years ago, Team GB included seven judokas and we are hopeful that the Olympic experience gained by the likes of current world bronze medallist Euan Burton will stand them in good stead for success in London.”
BOA Director of Sport and Team GB Deputy Chef de Mission Sir Clive Woodward said:
“Judo is a fast and fascinating sport, played by over 250,000 people in more than 1,000 affiliated clubs in the UK and I believe the players fighting to represent Team GB have a great opportunity to make an impact in London 2012.
“There are exciting young prospects being developed in British judo and it was great to see European under-23 Champion Ashley McKenzie – a 21-year-old Londoner – win his first senior World Cup last month in Warsaw.
“We believe that participating in London 2012 will give judo in the UK a huge boost and create a platform for future success in Rio 2016 and beyond.”
British Judo Association Chairman Densign White said:
“We are absolutely delighted with the number of Host Nation Qualification places awarded as it will allow us to build a strong team for London but also, critically, to look ahead to 2016.
“The BOA decision will ensure that the London Games leaves a lasting legacy for the sport in Great Britain. We have some fantastic programmes and initiatives running up and down the country to drive participation at every level, and we will use London as a platform to build the sport further and ensure sustainability.
“I am grateful for the support from the BOA and the confidence they have shown in British Judo to deliver.”
British Judo Association Performance Director Margaret Hicks said:
“We are pleased with the outcome as it allows us to prepare our players with robust performance standards but also relinquish any Host Nations Qualification places, if the criteria are not fulfilled.
“The Olympic Qualification Standards agreed mean that we can be selective on which IJF qualifying events our players compete in. This will allow our players to arrive at the Games much stronger than previously, where they would have had to enter virtually every event to gain ranking points for qualification.
“This is an excellent opportunity to build a strong team and have a really successful Games.”
Two-time World bronze medallist Euan Burton said:
“It will be an honour for any athlete to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games. As a European and World medallist I have stood on some significant medal podiums, but nothing could compare with a gold in London.
“Judo kicks off the Games during the first week and we will be aiming to make the country proud. I am doing everything I can to prepare myself to be in the best possible shape. I will strive to continue putting in world class performances to gain selection for Team GB.”
Seven-time World medallist Karina Bryant said:
“Last year I won my 20th major medal of my career, but my dream is to win an Olympic medal. I am hopeful that children will be inspired to take up the sport from watching the British judo team perform. Judo is such an exciting and dynamic sport that anyone can try no matter their size, age, or gender, and the London 2012 Olympic Games is the perfect platform to generate a buzz around our sport.”
As the National Olympic Committee for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the BOA, among its many duties, is responsible for approving the eligibility and entry of all British athletes who compete as members of Team GB at the Olympic Games.
For the London 2012 Olympic Games, the BOA has stipulated that any sport seeking to utilise a Host Nation Qualification Place must first demonstrate the following:
1) The ability to deliver a credible performance during the London 2012 Games.
2) A long-term strategy to deliver a meaningful legacy as a result of the profile and visibility associated with competing in the Games, with a particular emphasis on increasing opportunities for participation by athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers at the grassroots level.
The decision to permit the British Judo Association, which is the National Governing Body for judo in Great Britain, to utilise the Host Nation Qualification Places was made by the Olympic Qualifying Standards Panel, which among others includes Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt; the Chair of the BOA Athletes Commission Sarah Winckless; and the BOA’s Director of Sport Sir Clive Woodward.