Kingston on verge of breakthrough

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The Independent Online


reports from Munich

Since winning a bronze medal at the Tournoi de Paris last month, the 23-year-old Danny Kingston has become the member of the British men's squad most likely to break into Olympic medal ranks in Atlanta.

Having already qualified, he is currently cruising the European A tournaments in a relaxed mood, trying out new moves. But above all, for Kingston, this weekend at the World Masters is about building up experience at winning medals regularly on the European circuit.

With the 32-year-old Ray Stevens coming to the end of his career, and Nigel Donohue, the talented but fragile European bantamweight champion proving unpredictable, British men's judo needs a new star.

Kingston has the flair and the instinct to be dangerous. No one really knows what he is going to attack with - by contrast, everyone knew what technique Neil Adams was going to use but could not stop it.

"I have to work on my fitness," Kingston admits, "and combatting left- handers," but this is all rather academic. He comes alive under the spotlight, when the pressure is on as it will be here - 56 countries, including Japan and Korea have entered. Kingston expects to take a medal, having won silver and bronze in his last two visits.

Also competing this weekend is Julian Davies, the featherweight who is nearing sufficient points for Olympic qualification, and Donohue, who has yet to take a medal this year.

n 's highest grade - 10th Dan - has been awarded by the British Association to Charles Palmer, their president, for his services to the sport. He is the first non-Japanese to be awarded the grade.