Kate Howey, Olympic and world silver medallist, turned 30 this year and could be expected to show signs of slipping down the competition pole - after all, she has had 15 years at the top international level.
But there was little sign of it on the second day of the World Championships here yesterday where only torn cruciate ligaments, forcing her to retire at the semi-final stage, prevented her from picking up yet another world medal.
Howey was a little slow in starting against Hungary's Annette Meszaros, though she scored early with a pick-up, followed by a sacrifice technique which gave her a reliable win.
But then she got into her stride. Sylvia Shlagnitweit, of Austria, thought she was doing well until Howey spun into a fast shoulder throw and dumped the Austrian flat on her back. Dougya Qin, of China, who has beaten Howey in the past and probably thought she was ripe for picking again, was almost knocked unconscious with a massive shoulder throw pick-up, which required Howey to somersault in mid-air with her opponent on her shoulders to finish the matter. And after just over a minute, Adriana Dadci, of Poland, submitted to a merciless armlock, her face showing her anguish.
In her semi-final, Howey had a tougher time against the Cuban, Regia Leyen Zulueta, but fell awkwardly and tore her knee ligaments, retiring injured. She had got the Olympic qualification of fifth place, but decided not to risk greater injury by attempting to win the bronze medal fight with a heavily strapped knee.
There were hopes that the British men's middleweight, Winston Gordon, would also get to a medal position after three good wins, but he lost impetus and suffered two defeats.
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