Oates hopeful for medals in three countries on Asia Tour

Abu Dhabi (UAE), Tokyo (Japan) and Jeju (Korea)

Olympian Colin Oates (-66kg) will be looking to end a superb year by making a big impact in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E), Japan and Korea, as he embarks on a 19 day Asian tour spanning more than 5,000 miles.

He is one of British Judo’s strongest medal hopes, having already proved he is one of the best judoka in the world on paper at least. He defeated two-time world champion Rishod Sobirov and then beat London 2012 gold medallist Lasha Shavdatuashvili at the World Championships without a medal there, but took gold when he won the men’s -66kg contest at the Glasgow European Open 2013.

The Asia tour, taking place between 19 November and 8 December, will start with the two-day Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Friday 22 and Saturday 23 November) in the U.A.E.

Oates said: “I’m just looking to maintain my current form and to produce my best judo. It is going to be a tough 19 days of trying to make weight and fighting and that will prove just as hard as trying to take results or placings.

“However, it is a great opportunity to keep climbing the rankings and proving that I deserve to be competing at the top level amongst the world’s best players.”

This event features four more Olympians; Sally Conway (-70kg) and Gemma Howell (-63kg), both back from injury plus self-funding players Danny Williams (-73kg) and James Austin (-100kg).

Meanwhile, Ben Fletcher (-100kg), Faith Pitman (-63kg) and Natalie Powell (-78kg) have also been selected after strong performances this year.

Fletcher came second to Euan Burton in the -100kg final at the Glasgow European Open and Pitman started the year as British Champion and went on to win the IJF Grand Prix in Rijeka and the Pan American Open.

There has also been a lot of interest in Abu Dhabi from self-funding players, who see the tournament as an ideal opportunity to chase vital world ranking points, ahead of the official Olympic qualifying period which begins next year.

For Abu Dhabi alone, the men’s team will be bolstered by Nathon Burns (-66kg), Patrick Dawson (-73kg), Tom Reed (-81kg) and Matthew Purssey (-90kg).

The Renicks sisters Kimberley (-48kg) and Louise (-52kg) will also compete in Abu Dhabi after their silver success in Mauritius on 9 November.

Kim went on to add add gold to her medal collection at the IJF Apia Open on Friday 15 November in Samoa where Louise also gained a bronze, before both headed to the Emirates.

By the time these sisters return back to the UK following their self-funded tour, the pair would have completed a round trip of almost 28,000 miles each – 4,000 miles more than the entire circumnavigation of the earth.

Continuing the family connection, Ben’s sister Megan Fletcher (-70kg) also joins the delegation in Abu Dhabi, while Connie Ramsay (-57kg) and Sarah Adlington (+78kg) complete the Abu Dhabi line-up for women’s team.

The following weekend (29 November to 1 December) Conway, Oates and Powell will be joined by Ashley McKenzie (-60kg) at the 2013 Tokyo Grand Slam in Japan, the home of judo, some 4,000 miles away from the U.A.E.

After a 750 mile transfer, the tour will culminate with the 2013 Jeju Grand Prix in South Korea on 5 and 6 December.

Chris Bowles, men’s lead coach for Great Britain, said:

“This is a big step for the players who have been selected for Abu Dhabi as it is an influential tournament in the programme.

“We are also pleased to be able to send a few players on the full Asia tour. These are very important competitions for the players in terms of their development.”

Kate Howey, women’s lead coach for GB added: “We need to get the right people to the right tournaments and for Abu Dhabi we have a big team going out, bolstered by self-funding players.

“This is really positive as it shows their commitment.

“Our key performance plan is going well so far.

“It is our aim is to get at least five players to make the top 16 ahead of the qualifying period and to have a large portion up there in the top 30, so these tournaments are crucial.”

Abu Dhabi 

The competition boasts a total prize fund of USD$150,000.

Gold carries a medal; diploma and US$5,000 prize money and silver carries a medal, diploma and US$3,000.

The two bronze carry medals, diplomas plus US$1,500 for each.

Fifth places attract diplomas and there is also a prize fund for the best male judoka diploma of US$1000 plus for the best female judoka a diploma and US$1,000.

Watch the action live on Ippon TV –

*Please note there is a four hour time difference between the UK and UAE. 

Score sheets available on: http://www.ippon.org/gp_uae2013.php

Friday 22 November 2013

 Action begins at 06:00 BST (10:00 U.A.E Local Time) 

Women: -48kg, -52kg, -57kg, -63 kg

Kimberley and Louise Renicks (-48kg and -52kg), Connie Ramsay (-57kg), Gemma Howell (-63kg) and Faith Pitman (-63kg)

Men: -60kg, -66kg, -73 kg

Colin Oates (-66kg) Nathon Burns (-66kg), Patrick Dawson (-73kg) and Danny Williams (-73kg)

Saturday 23 November 2013

Action begins at 06:00 BST (10:00 U.A.E Local time) 

Women: -70kg, -78kg, +78 kg
Sally Conway (-70kg), Megan Fletcher (-70kg), Natalie Powell (-78kg) and Sarah Adlington (+78kg)

Men: -81kg, -90kg, -100kg, +100kg
Tom Reed (-81kg), Matthew Purssey (-90kg) James Austin (-100kg) and Ben Fletcher (-100kg


Words by Donna Richardson.