alt August 19 - The British Judo Association have officially launched its new centralised training centre, based in Dartford, which is aimed to ensure the sport delivers medals at London 2012 and beyond.

The full-time centre of excellence will bring together, under one roof for the first time, Britain’s elite judoka under the direction of Britain's head coach, the French-born Patrick Roux, the British Judo coaching team and performance directorate, as well as sport science and medical staff.

The centralised programme will allow British Judo to concentrate the resources needed to deliver medals at the London 2012 Games, with the current target set at three for both the Olympic and Paralympics teams, officials claimed.

The Institute is housed within Dartford Judo Club, a £4.5 million purpose built, state of the art facility.

Opened by HRH The Princess Royal in 2006, and built with the support of Dartford Borough Council, Kent County Council and Sport England, it boasts two full-sized mats, space for up to 400 spectators, a gym, seminar and meeting spaces, catering facilities and a social area.

Although already in development prior to the Beijing Olympics, the failure to win medals at the Games last year emphasised the need for the Institute to ensure the sport returns to its Olympic medal winning ways.

Britain has won a total of 16 Olympic medals since it was introduced as an Olympic sport in 1964 but has failed to win one since Kate Howey claimed silver in the middleweight division at Sydney in 2000.

It is also still waiting for its first gold medal.

Margaret Hicks, the British Judo performance director said, “The British Judo Performance Institute has allowed us to bring together high level expertise to provide the best possible support and delivery to our athletes.

“We want the Institute to become a hub of excellence and innovation not only for our players, but developing performance coaches and practitioners, and also provide a resource for the talent development structures, which underpin performance.

"As well as having a focus on 2012, it is hoped that the Institute will also act as a legacy for British Judo, providing a system which consistently generates Olympic and Paralympic medals through to 2016 and beyond.

British Judo has worked closely with Dartford Judo Club, Dartford Borough Council and more recently Kent County Council to launch the Institute.

Densign White, the chairman of British Judo, said: “The desire of the club, Dartford Borough Council and Kent County Council to make this work and help us achieve our goals in 2012 has been invaluable.

“British Judo is excited about the possibilities of how the Institute can benefit our sport both in terms of our performance in London but also how it can grow and truly benefit the performance aspirations of our young players."

Roux said, "It is a great honour to help build the British Judo Performance system.

"I have observed that Britain has produced some good performances in the past.

"However, for us to reach our Olympic and Paralympic targets we needed to set up a professional centralised environment.

"The Institute here in Dartford will give our players the best opportunity to succeed."