JUDO; Golden moment arrives for Allan

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The Independent Online
EVER SINCE she won a senior European bronze four years ago when she was just a teenager, the featherweight Debbie Allan has clearly been heading for the gold. And yesterday, at the European Championships in Bratislava, she achieved it in fine style, beating the 1998 champion, Rafaella Imbriani of Germany, with a decisive throw in the semi-final before taking a decision from the Portuguese Paula Saldanha to scoop the title.

Now 23, her unusual background - last year she won a silver at the higher weight category of lightweight - has resulted in a advantageous strength to weight ratio, which, allied to her throwing and strangling skills, has made Allan world class. "I was worried about the semi-final against Imbriani because she is very strong and I was glad to throw her," Allan said. "After that, the final wasn't so difficult."

The British team also took two bronzes at the weekend. On Saturday, the light-heavyweight Chloe Cowan won her third European medal in three years. And Graeme Randall, the 24-year-old light-middleweight from Scotland, finally made it to European level.