Double Olympian and two-time European Championships medallist Colin Oates has announced his retirement from competitive judo.
The 34 year old judoka from North Lopham took up judo at 12 years old and won his first British title in 2001 in the Juniors before adding the first of five senior British titles to his collection in 2007.
The Kumo Judo Club judoka went from strength to strength, winning his first World Cup medal in Drammen in 2008 before winning his first European Championship medal in 2011 in Istanbul, beating France’s Pierre Duprat for bronze.
Oates then made his Olympic debut at London 2012, finishing seventh including a win over former world champion Khashbaataryn Tsagaanbaatar (MGL).
During the Rio 2016 cycle Oates was consistently ranked inside the top 16 in the world at -66kg while picking up some of the biggest results of his career including a gold at the 2015 Baku Grand Slam.
At the 2016 European Championships in Kazan, Oates reached his first major championship final including a win over future Olympic champion Fabio Basile (ITA) in the quarter-finals. The British judoka would go onto lose to Georgia’s Vazha Margvelashvili to leave with silver.
Having secured qualification to his second Olympic Games, Oates would lose out in golden score to Killian Le Blouch of France in the round of 32.
Speaking on his retirement, Oates said there were a number of highlights and thanks to give at the end of his competitive career.
He said: “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 two seed in the second round.
“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 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!
“10 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 in particular my dad, Japes, Patrick Roux and Euan Burton. They all inspired me to my success. The support staff at both JudoScotland and the BJA have forever been a rock behind my success.
“There are too many people to thank but anyone who knows they helped me will always know. I also have to thank the BJA, UK Sport and anyone who plays the National Lottery for without them I would not have had the funds to have continued to train and compete at such a high level.
“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. I have also been helping at both the England and Scotland Talent Development Programmes over the past 12 months.”
More reaction and discussion about Colin's retirement in this week's Diss Express.