Judo: Singleton sets the trend

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The Independent Online
IT often happens in sport, when you start winning it soon becomes a habit. It is an infectious thing as the British team are finding at the European Championships here in Spain. Yesterday, the victories kept coming with four more British fighters easing through their first-round encounters.

On Thursday, Kate Howey, Chloe Cowen and Karina Bryant all made the semi- finals. Given their experience, it was to be expected. Then came the turn of the younger fighters.

First to make it through was the 20-year-old Georgina Singleton, who had wins over Viktoria Volotova, of Russia, and Elena Karitskai, of Belarus. Singleton has the added bonus of knowing that the Olympic and world champion, Marie Claire Restoux, has already been put out of the running for the gold medal after surprisingly losing her first match. It has left the division wide open.

Minutes after Singleton's win, Simone Callendar, also 20, won all three flags against Brigit Olivier to reach the heavyweight semi-finals. Next, David Sommerville stepped on to the mat to contest the featherweight semi- final place with Islam Matsiev, of Russia.

Sommerville had already beaten Marsa Romero, of Andorra, and the German Martin Smidt. Matsiev went the same way as the others, quickly and sharply, with the Scottish fighter turning inside the grips of the Russian and scoring a dynamic ippon.

Debbie Allen became the fourth British finalist of the day as two strangle wins took her past Dragona Zivkovic, of Yugoslavia and the Russian Olga Seddosenko, and then a speedy tai-otoshi wiped out the Dutch girl Deborah Gravenstijn.

Lee Burbridge and Graeme Randall lost out at the quarter-final stage, but are still in the hunt for bronze. All must now wait until tomorrow for the medal contests.