Commonwealth champion Oates announces retirement from Judo

Commonwealth champion Oates announces retirement from Judo
By Sportsbeat

19/09/2017 at 09:52Updated

Two-time Olympian Colin Oates was full of pride as he announced his retirement from Judo, after a career which brought two European medals and Commonwealth gold.

But these medal wins were not the highlight for the 34-year-old, who cited his victory over former world champion Khashbaataryn Tsagaanbaatar at London 2012 as a moment to remember.

Nobody expected Oates, making his Olympic debut, to overcome the Mongolian second seed but, buoyed by the home crowd, the Brit made it through to eventually finish seventh.

The Norfolk judoka, who took up the sport aged 12, won his first World Cup medal in Drammen in 2008, before claiming European bronze in Istanbul three years later.

Oates, who competed in the -66kg category, went one better with silver at the 2016 European Championships in Russia – the first time he had reached the final of a major championship.

The Kumo Judo Club member qualified for the Rio Olympics and was eliminated in a golden-score round after making it to the last 32, but Oates had plenty of positives to reflect on after a successful career.

"I won't ever forget the crowd in London where I pulled off one of the major shocks of the day by beating the former world champion and number 2 seed in the second round at the Olympics," he said.

"From there onwards the last five years have been a blur winning my first ever Grand Slam medal in Russia and my first ever Grand Slam gold in Baku in 2015, after which I reached no.5 in the world rankings.

"The final high came when I reached my first ever major championship finals at the Europeans last year, it was a shame not to take the gold but I was proud of my achievement.

"Ten years ago, I would have never imagined the success I have achieved and I'm thankful for all the help along the way including my many coaches and in particular my Dad, Japes, Patrick Roux and Euan Burton.

"They all inspired me to my success, there are too many people to thank but anyone who knows they helped me will always know."

But Oates cannot stay away from the sport for long and will now turn his hand to helping shape the champions of the future.

"Next up for me I'm looking to coach, I have been taking my level 3 in coaching and working for Active Judo the past month in Scotland," he added.

"I have also been helping at both the England and Scotland Talent Development Programmes over the past 12 months."

Sportsbeat 2017