JUDO: Speed powers Howey to gold

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THE CAREERS of Kate Howey and David Somerville, who won gold and silver medals respectively at the German Open in Bonn yesterday, are at very different stages. Howey, the current world middleweight champion, will defend her title next month when the world championship comes to Birmingham from 7 to 10 October. For her, Germany was fine tuning, and by winning comprehensively she showed she could win the title for a second time.

Somerville, 25, from Glasgow Judo Club, has yet to win a major international medal, though he has been knocking on the doors for a year now, so the German Open was good experience. Yesterday, by trying to cruise the last minute after leading most of the final, he showed his lack of judgement. He was thrown in the last 10 seconds. He will hope he does not make the same mistake in Birmingham.

By contrast, the gold medal won on Saturday by the bantamweight John Buchanan was the result of a continuous work rate, though even then it was a close-run thing. Buchanan, 23, has a habit of conceding small scores in the first part of each match only to go up a few gears and win in the end.

It is a dangerous tactic for the world stage, which Howey knows. She gave no quarter as she crushed her first four opponents with a combination of throws and holds. In the final against Annett Bohm of Germany she controlled the fight and produced the winning throw with 20 seconds to go.

Some observers worry that, because of the weight change in her category from under 66kg to 70kg, she will be too light for the best in the world in Birmingham. But in Germany no one could touch her for speed, power and strength.

There were interesting indications for British hopes among the silver and bronze medallists too. Both Simone Callendar, who won the heavyweight silver in Germany on Saturday and who fights in the open weight in Birmingham, or heavyweight Karina Bryant, who won a bronze could take world medals. Both the lightweights Danny Kingston and Nicola Fairbrother also showed flashes of their special talents with fine throws.

Results, Digest, page 11