Olympic flame still burning for Colin Oates as he ponders Tokyo 2020 bid

Great Britain's Colin Oates (left) during his Men's 66kg bout against France's Killian le Blouch at

Great Britain's Colin Oates (left) during his Men's 66kg bout against France's Killian le Blouch at the Carioca Arena 2 on the second day of the Rio Olympics Games, Brazil. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Olympic dreams may not have become reality for Colin Oates but the Norfolk judoka is not ready to give up on the idea of one more attempt at glory just yet.

Olympic judoka Colin Oates, centre right, with his father Howard, centre left, at Lopham Village Hal

Olympic judoka Colin Oates, centre right, with his father Howard, centre left, at Lopham Village Hall for a Kumo Judo Club session. Photo: David Freezer - Credit: David Freezer

The 33-year-old's under-66kg hopes finished in controversial fashion in the first round in Rio, against France's Kilian le Blouch.

Oates was on the verge of progressing as le Blouch had committed two shidos (fouls) and Oates only one. But the former Diss High School pupil was then penalised in the closing seconds of regular time to send the bout to golden point, in which he committed a third shido and saw his campaign come to an abrupt end.

'It was disappointing, not because I lost but more the manner in which I lost, I didn't feel like I showed enough and didn't come out enough in the fight,' Oates said.

'It was kind of a tactical fight and that was one of the things that was disappointing for me, so looking back I'm still a bit gutted about the way I performed but I've been in this sport for 28 years, and at a high level for 10 to 12 years, and know that at that high level there's fine margins.

Olympic judoka Colin Oates, right, with his father Howard at Lopham Village Hall for a Kumo Judo Clu

Olympic judoka Colin Oates, right, with his father Howard at Lopham Village Hall for a Kumo Judo Club session. Photo: David Freezer - Credit: David Freezer


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'It could have been a European open event and have been just as disappointing because of the manner which I lost, now it's just a case of taking time out to assess and think to the future.'

Oates, originally from North Lopham and now based in Edinburgh, had gone into the Olympics in good spirits after winning silver at the European Championships in Russia in April.

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He still managed to enjoy his time in Brazil though, seeing the British women's hockey team beat New Zealand in the semi-finals on their way to gold and Usain Bolt's likely final Olympic appearance when winning gold in the 4x100m.

Oates, who is funded until the end of the year, was also able to take some heart from British Judo exceeding its performance target of two sevenths with Sally Conway winning U70kg bronze and Natalie Powell finishing seventh in U78kg.

'In terms of the Olympic Games as an experience it's kind of a shame I'm 33 and not 30,' he continued. 'Because if I was 30 I'd definitely say I'm going to go another four years, I'm going for the next one, because there's something about the Olympic Games that's just so special and makes you want more.

'Who's to know if I can't make it at 37? It's a push, I can maybe qualify, but the thing in my head is about winning medals. If someone had said to me four years ago that I'd go to the Games and lose first fight, I wouldn't have bothered, because that's not what I'm after.

'I don't care about getting the t-shirt or free gear or whatever. All of it's wonderful, don't get me wrong, it sounds a bit ungrateful because we got loads of things and great experiences, but I'm not really there for that.

'In this period of time it's talking about whether I can be good enough in four years and produce a medal-winning performance. We'll have a chat with my Association and see where we're at.'

Oates spent some time back in Norfolk after the Games and held a coaching session at Kumo Judo Club at Lopham Village Hall, run by his father, Howard.

The pair have also just followed up their first judo book, Getting Started, with a second, Groundwork.

'We love the sport, my dad has been coaching since I was 12, so 21 years now,' Oates added. 'So this club has been running since then and we always wanted to put something back into the sport and give something to the kids or any novice who wants to take up the sport.'

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