Judo: Kingston's angry withdrawal

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The Independent Online
Just how much of a mess British judo is in was demonstrated this weekend with the news that not one but two of the best medal prospects may not be in the team going to Paris for the World Championships, which start on Thursday.

In brief, the lightweight Danny Kingston jumped and the light-middleweight Cheryl Peel will probably be pushed. With a European title last year and a European bronze this year, Kingston looked like being the only member of the men's team with a chance of a medal.

Now he has taken the extraordinary step - for a fighter in his prime - to withdraw from the Championships partly to highlight what he describes as "bad preparation plans" by the British Judo Association. Kingston said: "The problem is with the management. Recently, they called a squad training at one day's notice. That is not the way to run things. If I go to a World Championships, I expect to win a medal, and I know that the kind of preparation I have had - especially the mental preparation - means that I am not ready."

Densign White, head of delegation in Paris and one of the selection panel, said: "We are disappointed, especially as we funded his training in Japan earlier this year." Kingston's place has been filled by Lee Burbridge.

Peel, meanwhile, is waiting to see whether she has been thrown off the Paris squad. She has only recently come back from a knee injury, and the selectors insisted she participated in the Welsh Open on Saturday. There, she could only manage a bronze and White feels this is not good enough. A final decision will be taken today.

- Philip Nicksan

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