Judo ace Oates lands a bronze

Colin Oates won bronze medals on the opening day of the European Judo Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

Oates, 27, of North Lopham, produced a career-best display to claim his first major medal, a huge accolade for the -66kg judoka who has previously medalled at World Cup and European Open events.

'It's not quite sunk in yet that I've earned a bronze medal, I'm still in shock,' said Oates after stepping off the medal rostrum.

Oates had a bye on the first round before convincingly seeing off Hungarian Zsolt Gorjanacz by ippon after earlier recording a yuko score.

The judo ace then defeated Ukraine's Serhiy Drebot by two waza-ari scores and followed up with a yuko victory over Romania's Gheorghe Fasie.

The semi-final saw Oates lose out to Tarian Karimov of Azerbaijan which led to a bronze medal fight in the repechage.

A titanic effort from Oates saw him outwork his French opponent Pierre Duprat. The scores were still level after golden score but Oates was awarded the decision on flags.

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'In a way I think my injury (at the start of the year) helped me as I've had time to really focus on technical work and refine my style. I'm not just happy with the way I performed and the medal itself but I was relaxed and felt really strong. I overpowered fighters such as the Ukranian, Serhiy Drebot — and he's a really physical judoka — which is something I haven't really managed before.'