Judo: Earle's charges reap rewards

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PROOF that the British Judo Association has chosen well in making Mark Earle one of their principal coaches was evident at the Scottish Open in Edinburgh - in triplicate, writes Philip Nicksan.

Three of his leading proteges from his home club in Camberley reached the finals of two categories in spectacular style, and produced the best possible results.

Ian Freeman, the world and European junior champion at featherweight (under 65 kilos) has been forced to move up a category to lightweight (71kg); at 19 he is still growing. But his training partner, Danny Kingston, is an outstanding lightweight in his own right. Earle's solution was to put Kingston at 78kg since, as he is also still 19, he is likely to move up anyway. Kingston did not disappoint him in an exciting final against his stable-mate, Chris Johnson.

Freeman had a simpler time of it. Only in the final against Stephen Ravenscroft was there any suggestion that he needs time to settle in at the new weight.

In the women's event, the established champions made the most impact. Most impressive was the light-middleweight, Diane Bell.

The Olympic bronze medallist, Sharon Rendle, was thrown at the start of her final against Elise Summers, but recovered well to win.

Results, Sport in Short, page 31