Oates opts not to bow out after Olympic heartache

CARRYING ON: Colin Oates will continue to compete in the big judo competitions for the foreseeable future after his early exit from the Olympic Games.
CARRYING ON: Colin Oates will continue to compete in the big judo competitions for the foreseeable future after his early exit from the Olympic Games.
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Despite rumours to the contrary, Colin Oates has revealed he has no plans to retire from judo in the wake of his early Olympics exit.

And the North Lopham-raised judoka has also refused to rule out the possibility of representing the Great British team at the Tokyo Games in four years time.

Aged 33, the most recent Olympics in Rio de Janeiro were widely regarded to be Oates’ last chance of winning a medal at the pinnacle of his sport.

However, he crashed out in the round of 32 during a golden score shoot-out with France’s Kilian Le Bouch, prompting suggestions that Oates would call time on his career.

But with big tournaments on the horizon, the Commonwealth Games champion is not ready to walk away just yet.

“To go out so early was disappointing,” he said.

“But I have been doing this sport a long time and know that sort of thing can happen.

“I have to take it on the chin. There is nothing I would have changed in terms of preparation.

“I know that I do not want to finish competing just yet.

“I am enjoying training and while that is the case I will keep going.

“The World and European Championships are coming up and I want to fight in both of those.”

As far as a tilt at the next Olympics goes, Oates is aware that the odds are stacked against him.

Much hinges on a funding decision, which is likely to come in November, as well as Oates remaining fit.

Even so, the Brit is not totally closing the door on a final outing on the big stage.

“I have got to have a sit down with British Judo to see which direction they want to head in,” he added.

“Tokyo might be a bit of a stretch, but if you look at a lot of our medallists, they tend to be in the upper age bracket.

“It depends on a lot of factors. My body might have given up by then but you cannot rule it out.”

n Colin Oates and his father Howard have released their second book entitled ‘Judo: Groundwork’.

It can be purchased, priced at £10.99, on Amazon.