Howey leads British hopes

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The Independent Online

Kate Howey'S appetite for competition is undimmed. Since winning Olympic silver in Sydney, she has lessened her rigorous training routine in order to meet the demands of appearances and demonstrations. Yet today she leads the British women's team in the European team championships taking place here with a medal on the cards.

Kate Howey'S appetite for competition is undimmed. Since winning Olympic silver in Sydney, she has lessened her rigorous training routine in order to meet the demands of appearances and demonstrations. Yet today she leads the British women's team in the European team championships taking place here with a medal on the cards.

"I always enjoy team competitions - the spotlight isn't on me alone," explained Howey, who is generally seen as a medal certainty in individual internationals.

She did not take a break after Sydney. "I have had appearances to make and presented medals at the British Junior championships, but I have also my sports studies at Bath University," she said.

Nevertheless, perfect performances from her will be necessary for the Briton to reach the final. The European heavyweight champion, Karina Bryant, is resting, and other first choices Victoria Dunn (bantamweight), Georgina Singleton (featherweight), Cheryle Peel (lightweight) and Chloe Cowen (light-heavyweight) are all injured. Despite this, a bronze, at least, can be expected.

The men's team will have a harder time matching the silver medal it won last year. It is also fielding a team with key absences, including the world champion, Graeme Randall, who has just become a father. But it will be the first time that the team manager, Udo Quellmalz, doubles as coach, after the post-Olympic resignation of Mark Earle.

* The British Judo Association has announced that the featherweight Debbie Allan is banned from international competition for six months after her failure to make the weight at the Sydney Olympics. She will not be available for the European championships in May, and is a doubt for the World championships next October.

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