Judo: Singleton a formidable obstacle

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The Independent Online
SOME FIGHTERS are particularly unnerving to face, and Britain's Georgina Singleton, European featherweight silver medallist, is undoubtedly one of them, writes Philip Nicksan from Cardiff.

She walks to the mat with something between a stride and a bounce and once at her mark, she makes a bow seem a bob, but then her face comes forward as she fixes her gaze through rather than at her opponent and though she is barely five foot, most people are beaten before the start.

Certainly this was the case at the Welsh Open on Saturday, at the Cardiff Institute of Sport - never mind the fact that, because of injury, this was the first time back since winning her European silver in May. Anna Hunter (Yorkshire and Humberside) tried to resist, but was strangled for her pains. Natalie Waites (West), Claire Albutt (East) and Jodie Douglas (Wales) were all thrown flat within 30 seconds.

And it took a fighter of the calibre of Elise Summers (London) to give Singleton a run for her money. The two rivals went at each other without mercy, but by the end the power and quality of Singleton's attacks won her the decision.

The return of the light-middleweight Cheryl Peel after a year off with a knee injury had a slight hiccup - she won only bronze, edged out of the final by Karen Roberts in a closely-fought semi-final.

Roberts, 21, from Pinewood Judo Club, had something to prove - she had been pre-selected for the European Team Championships on 15 and 16 October. She lost her first fight to Gemma Hutchins (North), and could not afford another loss in the knock-out section. She absorbed all Peel's attacks and won on a penalty - and in the final beat Hutchins decisively.

In the men's event, Eric Bonti (London) produced a series of spectacular throws to win the lightweight (under-73k) category, beating Jean-Paul Bell (Midlands) in the final.

Results, Digest, page 26