Judo: Gordon's touch of subtlety

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The Independent Online
AFTER nearly 20 years, Elvis Gordon has left the Wolverhampton Judo Club and moved to the Neil Adams Club in Coventry - and the change was immediately noticeable as he won the Welsh Open Judo Championships in Cardiff on Saturday. Adams was a ground-work expert, and has evidently decided that to turn Gordon into a strangle specialist could enhance his international prospects.

Now 32, and looking as strong as ever, Gordon showed how difficult it was to keep away from competiton despite his post-Olympic avowal to turn to more commercial pursuits.

Though he started by flattening David Walker with the kind of massive throw that has taken him to world and European finals, he later employed more subtle techniques, turning to ground work and strangles. In the final against Simon Smith he attacked with a sliding strangle and then switched effortlessly to kata-ha-jime (single wing).

The strong entry in Wales brought some interesting results. Martin McSorley, who as a teenage prodigy lived in the shadow of Adams but disappeared for five years, is now 27 and back training seriously. He won the light-middleweight category, throwing and holding Wayne Larkin with ease in the final.

In the women's event, the principal result was the victory of light-middleweight Diane Bell who, like Gordon, retired from competition in Barcelona, only to change her mind, come back, and win.

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