Judo: Rendle is overthrown

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The Independent Online
One of Britain's greatest fighters, the featherweight Sharon Rendle, suffered one of the worst results of her career when she lost concentration in the very first round yesterday, and was eliminated from the competition, writes Philip Nicksan.

It rankled even more because the British team was looking to her to produce the first medal and lift their spirits. She was beaten by an unranked Algerian, Lynda Mekvine, who countered after just two minutes with kosoto- gari (minor outer reap) for ippon (10 points). It was only the third time Rendle has been thrown for judo's perfect score - and she won her first world bronze medal exactly 10 years ago.

Julian Davies, the European featherweight silver medallist, drifted out of the event rather than losing. In his first fight he found himself a koka behind against Abdou Seck of Senegal. He finally switched to ground work and armlocked him immediately.

In the second round, against Jaroslaw Lewak of Poland, he decided to fight tactically, and went behind on a five-point score. Even then he continued the game plan to get his opponent penalised for not attacking rather than trying to beat him positively, but his Olympic hopes slipped away.

Thus, realistically, only Nigel Donohue, European bantamweight silver medallist, who fights today on the last day of the judo competition, can stop a medalless Olympics for Britain - the worst since 1964 when judo first appeared.

Both the world lightweight champions, Germany's Udo Quellmalz and France's Marie-Claire Restoux, won the Olympic titles after dominating throughout the day. For Quellmalz it meant beating the Japanese champion Yukimasa Nakamura for the second time - though this was on the narrowest of margains, a 2-1 decision. Restoux was ahead for most of her match with a five-point score from a footsweep.