Oates growing in confidence for Games

13 July 2012 / 07:45

Colin Oates is confident he can produce a "special performance" to land a long-overdue Olympic medal for British Judo in London.

Norfolk fighter Oates, 29, has enjoyed a breakthrough in the under-66kgs division, where he just missed out on a bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships. However, the 29-year-old accepts the greatest challenge of his career awaits at ExCeL in a few week's time, where Team GB's 14-strong squad will be out to deliver a first Olympic medal since 2000.

"These last couple of weeks will be about trying to get the focus in on the small things, heading towards getting that medal at the Games," Oates told Press Association Sport.

"I had a great 2011, and have been starting to push on this year to help me create new little things that when I get to the Games will make me able to pull out that performance.

"It will still take something special for me to win a medal, but I feel I have the ability to do that now."

Britain will send a full quota of 14 fighters across all seven weight categories for both men at women to the 2012 Games.

However, making the podium would be a significant achievement in itself for the British Judo Association, who took the radical action of replacing their elite coaching staff following a disappointing World Championships in Paris last summer. British judo players have failed to deliver Olympic success since Kate Howey won silver at the Sydney Games 12 years ago.

New performance director Daniel Lascau is a former world gold medallist, and the Romanian-born fighter competed for Germany at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

The Team GB chief has confidence the likes of Scottish half-middleweight Euan Burton, veteran heavyweight Karina Bryant, a European bronze medallist earlier this year, in-form Gemma Howell and Oates can produce the goods this summer.

"We will go to London with 14 athletes and I believe this team does have the potential for at least one medal and also two top-eight places," said Lascau from the Team GB training camp at Dartford.