Judo: Fairbrother lives up to all expectations

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The Independent Online
NICOLA FAIRBROTHER, the European lightweight champion and Olympic silver medallist, came to the European Championships here as the British competitor most likely to reach the finals, writes Philip Nicksan from Athens. Three clean wins yesterday confirmed that reputation as she won a place in tomorrow's semi-finals.

The 22-year-old journalist from Surrey was always confident and in control. In the quarter-final, against Maria Pekji, of Hungary, Fairbrother used her groundwork ability, turning her opponent quite easily into a hold she has been using since she was a junior at Pinewood Judo Club. It was enough to win the match. She now meets Zulfya Guseinova, of Azerbaijan, in the semi- final.

The bantamweight Nigel Donohue and the featherweight Jean-Paul Bell also both went through to tomorrow's semi- finals.

Bell distinguished himself in his first senior European Championships. Though the scoreline shows he won his first two matches on penalties, neither match was negative and, in his quarter-final, he threw Tommy Mortensen, of Denmark, with a decisive ouchi-gari (major inner reap).