Judo: Johnson surprise for Somerville

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The Independent Online
IF UDO QUELLMALZ, the British team director, hoped that the British Closed Championships at Sheffield on Saturday would start sorting out some Olympic selection questions, he was sorely disappointed. In the men's division, at least, it raised more problems than it solved.

David Somerville, the Scottish featherweight, has been tipped as a possible Olympic medallist. But though he started strongly with a couple of good wins, he ran up against Jamie Johnson, the fiery Manchester bantamweight fighting a category up, and was surprisingly thrown for yuko (five points) with a classic stomach throw.

But at least he had a good excuse - he started the day with a broken finger, a considerable handicap in judo. This was not the case with either of the two leading middleweights, Winston Gordon from London and Steve Vidler from Scotland. They have been pre-selected for the Olympic qualification tournaments next year - but while they started well, both lost in the preliminaries against opponents whom they should have beaten.

And then they met for the bronze. Gordon was favourite - after all, he has won this event before - but when under pressure he made an unwise attack and, falling badly, injured his shoulder and was forced to retire. It was his Wandsworth club-mate, Eric Bonti, who showed how it should be done, throwing everyone for ippon, judo's perfect score. But the man of the match was the 18-year-old middleweight Peter Cousins, who, in his first senior competition, won it superbly.

In the women's division, the lightweight Nicola Fairbrother and the light- heavyweight Chloe Cowan, demonstrated that they are still the best in the country. But they edged past their opponents, rather than appearing world beaters, Fairbrother, in particular, coming very close to losing to Wales' Lisa Jessop in the semi-final.

BRITISH CLOSED CHAMPIONSHIPS (Sheffield) Men: Bantamweight (u60k): D Johnson (NHC) gold; T Davies (WJA) silver; M Neale (West), S Ilderton (North West) bronzes. Featherweight (u66k): J Warren (London) gold; J Johnson (Midlands) silver; D King (East), S Harris (Midlands) bronzes. Lightweight (u73k): E Bonti (London) gold; I Francis (Midlands) silver; I Johns (Yorks and Humb), J Woolderton (London) bronzes. Light-middleweight (u81k): L Preston (Welsh Judo Association) gold; J Nicholson (Yorks and Humb) silver; E Burton (SJF), D Warner (Midlands) bronzes. Middleweight (u90k): P Cousins (NHC) gold; D Nicholls (Midlands) silver; B Embley (Yorks and Humb), S Vidler (SJF) bronzes. Light-heavyweight (u100k): K Davis (London) gold; R James silver; J McDowell (London), S Burlinson (North) bronzes. Heavyweight (+100k): D Sargent (South) gold; D Harrison (West) silver; D Clarke (NHC), R Stllwell (South) bronzes. Women: Bantamweight (u48k): D Robertson (SJF) gold; E Stringer (WJA) silver. Featherweight (u52k): E Summers (London) gold; S Cox (North West) silver; L Brand (London), K Dunkley (London) bronzes. Lightweight (u57k): N Fairbrother (NHC) gold; J Brian (SJF) silver; C Albutt (East), L Porter ( SJF) bronzes. Light- middleweight (u63k): G Hutchins (North) gold; C Peel (North) silver; R Felton (Midlands), K Roberts (NHC) bronzes. Middleweight (u70k): A Seddon (SJF) gold; N Priestley (South) silver; S Fairbrother (NHC), T Fallon (Midlands) bronzes. Light-heavyweight (u78k): C Cowan (North) gold; J Melen (Wal) silver; S Hart (SJF), A Costello (SJF) bronzes. Heavyweight (+78k) M Rogers (North West) gold; M Gregory (North) silver; C Drummond (North) bronze (1 bronze only).

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