Judo - New centre of excellence signals bright future for British Judo

Britain's hopes of winning a first ever Olympic judo champion has been boasted with the opening of the new centre of excellence in Wolverhampton.

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Japan's Hiroaki Hiraoka fights with Britain's Ashley Mckenzie (blue) during their men's -60kg elimination round of 32 judo match, at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Reuters)

Based on the University of Wolverhampton's Walsall Campus, and funded by the institution, the �1million pound venue will act as a base for all seniors and juniors on British Judo's programme.

The centre, which was launched with an official opening ceremony on Tuesday, includes a state-of-the-art dojo and two Olympic sized mat areas for up to 100 judoka as well as a hi-tech strength and conditioning suite.

The aim is to nurture the country's best players, in particular those with 2020 Olympic potential aimed between the ages of 17 and 22-years-old.

Britain won its first Olympic medal in 12 years when Gemma Gibbons battled to silver in the -78kg event at London 2012 last year.

And with the centre opening offering high quality training for future stars, Great Britain's men's lead coach Chris Bowles has backed them for more success.

"From a judo perspective it is one of the most inspirational advancements and we will generate a new breed of fighter and make our own mark on British Judo," he said.

"Hopefully, with the right coaches and set-up in place we should be able to see results in the not so distant future.

"We have selected a fantastic influx of players and our future looks promising."

� Sportsbeat 2013

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