Ever since she won two world junior titles, the heavyweight Karina Bryant has showed that she is a fighter of the top rank Yesterday she proved it again by taking a silver medal in the open category here at the World Championships.
Only the French light-heavyweight Celine Lebrun managed to stop her seemingly unerring progress to the gold in a tense and tight final. Lebrun used her speed and activity to confound Bryant's attacking, and won on passivity penalities.
Earlier in the day, John Buchanan retrieved the reputation of the British men's team by earning a typically courageous bronze. Though there was no gold, as at the World Championships in Birmingham, the British team can regard this event as a positive success.
Bryant had a good draw yesterday, and some extra luck too. She started with Mayumi Yamashita, of Japan, who walked into trouble, conceding a five-point penalty for a technical infringement. Bryant kept control and produced a fine footsweep counter to end the fight.
Her second opponent, Priscilla Marques, of Brazil, was potentially more dangerous, and Bryant found herself thrown twice, conceding two small scores, and even being penalised. But once again, her big throwing capacity enabled her to get herself out of trouble. She got hold of Marques' belt, using her 6ft 1in, and twisted into position for a fine big hip throw for waza-ari (seven points).
In the semi-final, she faced Catarina Rodrigues, a Portuguese light-heavyweight, some 20 kilos lighter than Bryant. But the Camberley Judo Club fighter controlled the fast attacks well and won on penalties. There was a certain irony, therefore, that it was another light-heavyweight, Celine Lebrun, the three times European champion, who should snatch the gold from Bryant's grip.
Buchanan, a bantamweight, turned in one of the best performances of his career to take the bronze. He lost his first fight to the talented Anis Lounifi, of Tunisia, but, after progressing via the rêpechage, won his bronze with an outstanding effort, beating Nestor Kergiani, of Georgia, with a throw followed up by a merciless strangle.
Yesterday also saw Ryoko Tamura, the great Japanese bantamweight, become the first woman to win five consecutive world titles – despite a badly injured knee.Reuse content