Judo: Bell puts on show of power

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IT IS inevitable that the two bronze medals won by the lightweight, Nicola Fairbrother, and the light-middleweight, Diane Bell, at the Tournoi de Paris on Saturday will be overshadowed by Nigel Donohue's superb gold on the first day of the event, writes Philip Nicksan.

The physical demands of the sport suggest that, at 29, Bell, the twice-world champion, cannot be around for much longer. Yet, on Saturday, she demonstrated that she remains one of the finest light- middleweights. Her first opponent, Pavlina Pechovicova, of the Czech Republic, was dispatched with a waki-otoshi (armpit drop), and Yvonne Huber, of Austria, lasted seven seconds before succumbing to uchimata (inner thigh throw).

Then she beat the French Olympic champion, Catherine Vachon-Fleury on a unanimous decision; and only lost to Miriam Blasco, of Spain, on a decision. In the repechage, Bell beat the Miroslava Janosikova, of the Czech Republic, in the same manner.

At 22, Nicola Fairbrother, the Olympic lightweight silver medallist, has a long career ahead of her. Under par at the start of the day, she was losing against Armelle Iost, of France, until just two seconds before the bell when she produced a match-winning throw.

Fairbrother lost to the eventual winner, Korea's Chung Sung Yong but came back to take a bronze with uchimata against Filipa Cavalleri, of Portugal.

Yesterday, there were no medals for Britain. Surprisingly, Sharon Rendle, the Olympic featherweight bronze medallist from Hull, went out in the first round.

Results, Sport in Short, page 27