A bronze from the veteran Sharon Rendle on Saturday saved the team from coming home empty-handed. Rendle gave a stunning performance that belied her 32 years when she dropped Megumi Yabushita, a Japanese champion, on to her back for ippon (10 points) in the first round. But for a split decision against her in the second round Rendle might have made it to the final. Instead, she knuckled down to work in the repechage, ending the day by winning a decision against Jin Wang of China for a bronze.
During the 1980s, fighters like Karen Briggs, Diane Bell and Rendle made sure that Britain's women regularly won medals, more often than not golds. This year's results are their worst ever, while the men's team have not won a medal since 1987.
Neil Adams, the team manager and head coach, concluded: "A mixture of bad luck and below-par performances from a lot of the athletes were responsible for the poor results."
While Britain should be disappointed with only one bronze, the Japanese are not happy with three golds - one less than their tally at the last championships in Hamilton, Canada two years ago.
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