Earle resigns over Allan weigh-in fiasco

Mark Earle, the coach of the British men's squad for the past two Olympics, has resigned following the failure of Debbie Allan to make the weight at the Sydney Games. Despite being technically in charge of the men's squad, Earle coached Allan from the start of her career as a junior at his Camberley Judo Club and was personally supervising her training programme, and weight reduction, in Sydney.

Mark Earle, the coach of the British men's squad for the past two Olympics, has resigned following the failure of Debbie Allan to make the weight at the Sydney Games. Despite being technically in charge of the men's squad, Earle coached Allan from the start of her career as a junior at his Camberley Judo Club and was personally supervising her training programme, and weight reduction, in Sydney.

"I felt that I was ultimately responsible for Debbie Allan's failure to make the weight," said Earle, himself a former British international. "But I also feel it is time for a change in the men's team. I have been involved for the last 10 years, and although we have had some good results, we have had some bad luck also."

His resignation has been accepted by Lesley Anne Alexander, the chairman of the British Judo Association, and the BJA's AGM in Reading. "It is a sad loss but necessary," she said.

Alexander announced that there would be no immediate replacement as men's coach. She said: "Udo Quellmalz, the performance director, will be more hands-on for the next six months, and we will see how it goes. Perhaps we won't need a men's coach."

Alexander also said there would be a BJA inquiry into the Allan incident with the results, and any disciplinary action, to be announced before Christmas.

Earle will continue to run Camberley Judo Club, which he has personally guided to its status as one of the main full-time judo training centres in the United Kingdom. The European heavyweight champion, Karina Bryant, is another of his protégées. But whether this marks the end of Allan's career - who is herself a European champion - remains to be seen.

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