Burton and Bryant seek Olympic judo seeding in Russia alongside juniors given the chance to impress
Monday, 02 April 2012
April 2 - Euan Burton (pictured) will make a final attempt to earn a seeded place at the London 2012 Games when he competes at the European Judo Championships – the final Olympic ranking list points scoring event – in Chelyabinsk, Russia, from April 26 until 29.
Britain's three-times European bronze medallist and current Masters bronze medallist, currently world number 12 in the -81kg category, is targeting a place in the top eight on the Olympic ranking list.
A gold medal is worth 180 ranking points and together with favourable results from other judoka this would see Burton move to seventh on the Olympic ranking list before the qualification process ends on April 30.
World number 14 Karina Bryant (pictured below in white), a three-time Olympian and four-time European champion at +78kg, is also seeking a seeded place at the Olympic Games and will be targeting her fifth European title which, depending on other results, could lift her to seventh in the rankings.
Three juniors have been selected to make their debuts at the senior version of the European Championships as part of Britain's 22-strong team.
It is their first selection as members of the Olympic Squad – the 28-strong talent pool from which the Olympic team will be selected.
Sixteen-year-old Hayley Willis, the World junior bronze medallist who has won both junior and senior versions of the British Closed title this year, makes history as the youngest ever judoka to represent Britain at the European Championships.
Willis won bronze medals at the Cadet European Championships and European Youth Olympics Festival last year and competes in the -48kg category.
Willis commented: "It's really pleasing to be the youngest ever played selected for this event, I was really happy when I found out I was selected, I wasn't expecting it.
"London 2012 is now more of a reality, I'll be going to do my best in Russia and if London happens, it happens but my focus has always been on 2016."
Cadet European Champion Kate-Jemima Yeats-Brown (pictured below), also 16, will see action in the -63kg field.
Yeats-Brown took bronze at the Cadet World Championships and fifth place at both the European Youth Olympic Festival and Junior World Championships.
Junior European Championship silver medallist Max Stewart, 18, son of 1988 Seoul Olympics bronze medallist Dennis Stewart, has been selected to compete in the -73kg category.
Stewart won three Junior European Cups last year in addition to clinching bronze medals at the Bremen International and German Junior European Cup.
British Judo performance director Daniel Lascau said: "I have said that if there is not a realistic chance for a senior judoka in London, then I have the courage to select a junior with one eye on Rio 2016 and so we have selected Hayley, Katie-Jemima and Max for the European Championships.
"If the juniors can produce a surprise performance then they can go to London 2012, it's important to expose them to the top level of senior judoka.
"After the European Championships we will make a decision regarding which judoka will pursue the -78kg category."
Elsewhere, British Closed silver medallist Kimberley Renicks will see action in the -48kg category while European bronze medallist Sophie Cox challenges the continent's elite -52kg judoka.
The 2006 European champion Sarah Clark competes at -57kg alongside fellow British Closed winner Connie Ramsey.
British Closed bronze medallist Faith Pitman competes at -63kg while Samoa World Cup winner Sally Conway and Korea World Cup bronze medallist Gemma Gibbons take to the -70kg category.
British Closed champion Sarah Adlington competes in the +78kg field.
GB World Cup winner Ashley McKenzie and British Closed silver medallist James Millar (pictured above in white) contest the -60kg category while Colin Oates looks to repeat his 2011 European bronze medal in the -66kg category.
Danny Williams, who finished seventh in his European Championship debut in 2010, competes at -73kg.
Two-time Olympian Winston Gordon and Olympic Test Event bronze medallist Matthew Purssey see action at -90kg while GB World Cup bronze medallist James Austin campaigns at -100kg.
Samoa World Cup winner Chris Sherrington completes the selection at +100kg.