Judo: Fairbrother uses guile to win gold: Briton's surprise attack takes world title

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THE Olympic silver medallist, Nicola Fairbrother, had to abandon her favourite throw in order to win the lightweight title at the World Championships here on Saturday night.

The sumi-gaeshi (corner counter), which has brought Fairbrother much success, including the Olympic silver medal, involves taking her opponent down to the ground in a sacrifice move. But Chiyori Tateno, her Japanese opponent in Saturday's final, is a groundwork specialist, who had studied the Briton's technique carefully and was waiting to pounce.

'I knew if I went anywhere near the ground with her I would be history,' the 23- year-old Fairbrother said. Yet to use anything other than her tried and tested techniques was against all common sense.

For her resolution of the problem Fairbrother drew on all the training she has done at Pinewood Judo Club with Don Werner, her coach since the age of seven, and attacked with a throw which took Tateno by surprise. The sode-tsuri-komi- goshi (sleeve-pull hip) produced the desired result.

Over went Tateno, just when she thought she had Fairbrother taped, for waza- ari (seven points). From then on, Fairbrother only had to hold on for the bell which, as double European champion, she did admirably.

'All I knew was that I had to give 100 per cent at that second,' she said. 'I didn't really know what I was doing, although now I look back on it, I had done the move a few times in the warm-up room.'

The day had had its uncertain moments. In the quarter- final, Fairbrother executed a perfect throw on Sook-Hee Hyun, of South Korea, but struggled in the semi-final, only beating the Netherlands' Jessica Gal on a split decision.

Sharon Rendle, twice the world featherweight champion, was on the receiving end of a curious decision which saw Cuba's Rodrigues Verdecia go through to the final; and then lost another split decision against the Japanese fighter Wakaba Suzuki to lose the bronze.

Diane Bell, also with two world titles behind her, added another world light middleweight medal to her collection, this time a bronze to show that, at 29, she is still world class.

Yesterday, the last day of the World Championships, saw Joyce Heron, the Scottish bantamweight, fight gamely through the early rounds to a semi-final match against Aiyue Li, of China. Her best preliminary match came in the second round when she strangled Hungary's Klara Vescia unconscious.

Yesterday the men's team had to rely on the repechage, hoping for bronze medals for Elvis Gordon (in the open weight category) and the bantamweight Nigel Donohue, who both lost in their preliminaries.