Judo: Britain gain encouragement from silver medal successes

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The Independent Online
TWO silver medals yesterday at the European Judo championships added to what has been an uplifting tournament for the British women's team.

They came from the lightweight, Debbie Allen, and featherweight Georgina Singleton.

Allen led for a time in the lightweight final against the world champion, Isabel Fernandez from Spain. But Fernandez, renowned for her tactical play, soon forced the Brit to concede a penalty. The fight then opened up and Allen was thrown as she walked onto the Spaniard's winding maki- komi.

Singleton won her semi-final comfortably spinning Isabel Schmutz of Switzerland onto her back with an uchimata in 20 seconds. It is fast becoming a winning technique for the Berkshire fighter, but also proved her downfall in this tournament, with Raffae Imbriani of Germany countering and scoring Ippon when Singleton attempted the same move in the final.

In the other division, Simone Callender, Graeme Randall and David Sommerville all found more experienced fighters in their path, with Callender losing to Irina Rodrina of Russia, Randall to Irakli Uznadze of Turkey and Sommerville to Patrick Van Kalken of the Netherlands.

Featherweight Sommerville came within half a minute of a final place with his semi-final against the Russian Islam Matsied a reflection of his capabilities.

Judo is a sport understood by relatively few, a mixture of tactics and techniques. The tactics are what confuse many first time viewers. Mostly contests go one way or the other with spectacular throws or just lots of gripping and penalty attempts.

Against Matsied it was judo at its best with the 23-year-old Scot showing he has both a wide range of techniques and a good tactical brain.

Yesterday's results come after Saturday's impressive win when Karina Bryant won the heavyweight title.

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