Judo: Allan sees the light

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The Independent Online
THOUGH STILL only 23, Debbie Allan has enjoyed a varied judo career having already won two European medals in different weight divisions. Despite winning silver last year at lightweight, she looked more comfortable having slimmed down to featherweight as she charged through her draw yesterday at the European Championships in Bratislava.

She dispatched two of her opponents with strangles - the most arcane area of judo. Ioana Dinea, of Romania, thought she could drop into a defensive crouch and be safe until Allan slipped her into a stranglehold. Then, after throwing Kitaya Gasinova, of Azerbaijan, Allan returned to her lethal strangle techniques against Switzerland's Isabel Schmutz in the third round. The victory put her into today's semi-final against Raffaella Imbriani of Germany.

Graeme Randall, the light middleweight, and heavyweight Simone Callendar, fighting in the open-weight category, also secured places in the semi- finals on Sunday. The lightweight Nicola Fairbrother, who only lost to the world champion Isabel Fernandez, and featherweight David Somerville will return on Sunday to the repechage in pursuit of a bronze medal.