London 2012: Craig Fallon retires from judo ahead of Olympics

By Jessica CreightonOlympic sports reporter
Craig Fallon
Craig Fallon

British judoka Craig Fallon says his decision to retire from the sport five months before a home Olympics was 'easy'.

The former world champion had only returned to judo a year ago following a disappointing performance at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

The under-66kg fighter told BBC Sport: "I wasn't where I wanted to be, it was quite an easy decision.

"I wanted to be competitive [in London] and didn't feel like I would've been."

Fallon continued: "Although it's a home Olympics and it's a special thing, it's still a competition. Sometimes you need to make a decision and know when to call time, instead of hanging on.

"I never thought I'd have had the success that I did. I never thought I'd be in two world finals [2003 and 2005] back-to-back."

After finishing an unexpected seventh place in Beijing, Fallon took two years out of the sport.

Without funding or a world ranking, and moving up from the under-60kg division, Fallon made a successful return to the British Judo set-up last year.

But injuries soon hampered Fallon's comeback, who said: "When I came back, I got straight into it but I didn't expect the injuries.

"That knocked me back quite a lot. I think I missed too much from injury.

"Prior to the worlds last August [in which he went out in the first round], I hadn't had a full block of training for three months without having an injury."

Whilst Fallon is currently taking a judo coaching course, his future plans are still undecided.

"It's nice to be able to relax a bit and not always be thinking about judo," Fallon told BBC Sport. "I've been going to the gym and enjoying it. It's good to be home and build up relationships with a lot of my mates I haven't seen. I've also been playing football a few times a week."

With the 29-year-old ruling himself out for selection, the sole Olympic spot in the under-66kg category is now up for grabs.

"I think Colin Oates will take it," Fallon added. "He's been in the weight a long time and now he's broken through.

"He's a proper 66kg fighter, many haven't got his physical stature. His style is also very awkward."