Judo: Bell's signal

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The Independent Online
Britain's men's and women's teams return today from the European team championships in Leonding, Austria, with a bronze each - a satisfactory result as neither were fielding their strongest teams, writes Philip Nicksan.

Perhaps more significant than the result, however, is the new talent that is emerging. The basis for the men's medal-winning 4-2 victory against Austria came from the featherweight Jean Paul Bell, 21, who won all his fights, coming from behind to throw Manfred Hiptmair. Ian Freeman, the world junior champion, heads this category, but he may move up to lightweight - and Bell will fill the spot admirably.

John Tiernay, a 21-year-old middleweight from Newcastle, who swung the first-round match against Czechoslovakia with a fine throw and the light-heavyweight Daniel Sargent, 23, who did the same against Austria, both made an impression. Their future depends on the decision of the Olympic silver medallist Ray Stevens, awaiting knee surgery, who has not yet decided which category to fill when he returns to competition.

Elvis Gordon showed that 33 is not too old. He threw everyone with his seoi-nage (shoulder throw) for ippon, including the reigning Russian champion, Sergei Kosorotov, in eight seconds.

For the women's team, there were two particularly impressive new faces. Philippa Gemmill, the 18-year-old world junior bronze medallist, has a raw talent, but shows potential in filling the 48kg category while Karen Briggs decides her future.

Kerry Knowles, with a consistent performance including two fine throws in the 6-0 bronze- medal fight against Czechoslovakia, looks to have supplanted Sharon Lee as Britain's leading heavyweight.

EUROPEAN TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS (Leonding, Aut): Men's final: France bt Germany 5-1 Bronze medals: Great Britain bt Austria 4-2; Commonwealth of Independent States bt the Netherlands 6-0. Women's final: France bt the Netherlands 4-2. Bronze medals: Commonwealth of Independent States bt Germany 4-2; Great Britain bt Czechoslovakia 6-0.