Judo: Rogers lives up to her potential

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THE LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT Michelle Rogers came to the Tournoi de Paris, the toughest invitation tournament of the year, knowing she had to do well if she was to have any chance of selection for this year's European Championships in May and the World Championships in October.

Rogers has the talent to do well at international level as she showed here yesterday, winning her first two fights comfortably.

Spain's Beatriz Martin accrued penalties as she failed make an impression on Rogers, who eventually settled the matter by holding her down and drawing a submission.

But Rogers was particularly impressive against Heidi Rakels, the experienced Belgian with a string of good medals in a long career when she attacked with style and determination.

This puts the tall Briton into her greatest test yet - a semi-final against Emanuella Pierantozzi, twice the world champion.

Simone Callendar, the British heavyweight, fought gamely and did well to reach the bronze medal fight. She suffers by a lack of height, and is forced to rely on counters when the taller opponents attack. This tactic brought her two good wins with counter throws, but the cannier German, Sandra Koppen, did not play the game, and, switching direction, caught Callendar with a rear throw. In the repechage, the Londoner beat Spain's Susan Somolinos with two throws.

In the men's division the only Briton to progress past the first round was the middleweight Ryan Birch. His three wins guarantee him a creditable fifth place at least.