Judo: Britain's flaw show

Click to follow
Great Britain's national coach, Neil Adams, is to hold an immediate inquest into his team's poor performance in Atlanta.

For the first time since the sport was introduced to the Games in 1964, Britain failed to win a medal, despite having a 13- strong team. Nigel Donohue's performance typified the British effort when he did not succeed in his 11th hour bid to pick up a bronze in the bantamweight repechage after fighting his way to within 16 seconds of the final.

Adams, twice an Olympic silver medallist, said: "I can't put my finger on it. We really did have a chance of medals, we weren't just saying it. But when the chips were down, the players haven't done it. They haven't performed at their best.

"They've been beating the same people all year - and they've got to take same of the blame for it as well as me. It's all very well beating opponents in other competitions but you've got to do it in the Olympics."

Britain had landed 15 medals in the last six Olympics and, although Nicola Fairbrother and Donohue fought with passion and commitment, they did not get the breaks. Ray Stevens, Danny Kingston, Diane Bell and Sharon Rendle were fancied to finish among the medals but it was Donohue who came the closest in the final hour of the tournament.

Donohue, 26, had swept aside his Atlanta conqueror - Russia's world champion Nikolay Oyegin - in 12 seconds a couple of months ago and at the Georgia World Congress Centre, he had a good enough lead to have beaten him again. But one careless moment cost him dear. The tigerish Oyegin seized upon an opportunity to throw Donohue for a finishing ippon as the Russian was presented with the late piece of luck he desperately needed. "He threw it away," said Adams. "Nigel was well up and shouldn't have tried to jump on the Russian's back."

Scotland's Joyce Heron lost her first-round match, but managed to squeeze into the repechage before being beaten in her second match by Poland's Malgorzata Roszkowska.