Oates prepared for Olympic challenge

23 July 2012 / 16:01

Team GB judo star Colin Oates knows it will take the fight of his life to win a medal at London 2012, but the Norfolk fighter is already in the mindset of an Olympic champion.

The 29-year-old comes into the Games on the back of some decent results in the under-66kg half-lightweight division, with a bronze at the 2011 European Championships which was followed by a squad-best fifth place at last summer's World Championships in Paris, where Oates narrowly lost his third-place medal contest.

While Oates is fully aware of the challenge ahead if he is to make the latter stages at ExCeL on Sunday, the Team GB fighter is fully focused on delivering at the highest level, telling Press Association Sport: "Visually, I have won the Olympics 10 times already."

He added: "Whenever I go out for a jog, that is one of my main things, I try to think about the emotions on the day, because you need to control them.

"You can't be on a high all day because that will drain you of energy, also you can't be nervous the whole day either. You have to find the happy medium, so you know when to relax and calm down, then also when to start firing yourself up to get ready to fight."

The format of Olympic competition differs from the regular International Judo Federation circuit as each nation is allowed to enter only one athlete, and that if they meet the qualifying standard.

Potentially that could see the draw open up for Britain's 14 fighters, granted home nation automatic entry status across all seven weight categories, as they aim to end a 12-year quest for an illusive Olympic medal.

Oates, though, knows to make it through towards the chance to fight for even a bronze will be no walk in the park.

He said: "The early stage could perhaps be easier than some of the other tournaments I have done this year because there will be some nations who are not as strong, but after that you are almost certain to get a seeded fighter.

"I have done quite well against some of them, but there are others who will be pretty tough, so if I am going to get past them, then it really is going to have to be a special performance."