Kingston's Bryant could yet fight in Rio

Success tastes sweet: Kingston's Karina Bryant with her bronze medal

Success tastes sweet: Kingston's Karina Bryant with her bronze medal

First published in Olympic Sport Richmond and Twickenham Times: Photograph of the Author by

Kingston-born judoka  Karina Bryant has insisted claiming an Olympic bronze medal is all the inspiration she needs to carry on.
 

The 33-year-old star, a multiple medallist on the European and world stage already, beat Japan’s Mika Sugimoto in her +78kg third-place play-off on Friday to complete her collection of medals from major championships.
 

It crowned a glittering career for the four-time European champion and three-time world silver medallist, leading some to predict she would walk away from the sport following Sunday’s closing ceremony in Stratford.
 

But Bryant has warned there is plenty more to come from her – providing her body holds up.
 

“The Olympics has been an inspiration to keep going,” she said.
 

“There has been some miscommunication about my retirement, but it is just not something I am even contemplating.
 

“I have had a long-term neck injury that my medical team has worked hard on and done a fantastic job to get me through.
 

“I will have surgery on it in the first week of September and it will be a lot of re-habilitation after that with a view to getting fit for the beginning of next year.
 

“I think the European Championship may come too soon as I don’t want to rush back, but I am aiming to be ready for the world event.
 

“After that it will not be long until I am trying to qualify for Rio so why not?
 

“You are a long time retired and I will keep going until my body says I can’t do it anymore.
 

“Four years seems like a long time, but as I get older it seems to go much quicker.”
 

Bryant’s impressive performance forced British Judo Association chairman Densign White to eat his words after he claimed the country’s judo stars lacked the commitment needed to achieve on the biggest stage.
 

And Bryant’s Team  GB judo team-mate Winston Gordon, critical of White’s comments earlier in the week, said she deserved nothing less.
 

“Karina is a wonderful athlete and can produce results when it matters most.  Good luck to her,” he said.
 

“To get two medals and an eighth-place finish is a great week for British judo.”

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