Coaches must face questions

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The Independent Online
Britain's judo team has had its worst results of any Olympics since 1964: not one medal after seven days of competition. As if to rub salt into the wound, bantam-weight Nigel Donohue was yesterday on his way to winning his repechage fight against the Russian world champion, Nikolay Oyegin, but was thrown flat on his back 16 seconds from the end.

It was, in a way, indicative of the whole event. The team arrived in Atlanta with hopes of at least three medals according to team manager Neil Adams, but disaster has followed disaster. Only Nicola Fairbrother managed to regain a semblance of her past form and get within sniffing distance of a medal - she lost narrowly for a bronze.

But what has been most disappointing is not just the fact that they have lost but the way they have lost. Most have gone out with a whimper, without putting up much of a fight.

In his first contest, Nigel Donohue showed that he really can be a class player. Facing Pedro Caravana of Portugal, he felt himself into the match and then struck, bowling him over with a well-timed seoi-nage (shoulder throw) for 10 points.

But in his next fight he went ahead against Dorjepalan Narmandakh of Mongolia on a penalty and then sat back to try to win on tactics. This is not advisable at any time and the Mongolian got back into a commanding position and Donohue was penalised and then caught with a leg grab to lose the match.

In his first two fights of the repechage, once again he showed his skills. Melvin Mendez of Puerto Rico was thrown in 20 seconds and Alisher Mukhtarov of Uzbekistan submitted to a strangle. Against Oyegin, he fought to world class standards, notching up scores with ease. But, at the end, it was all for naught.