OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Judo: Rendle decision still irks

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The Independent Online
AT THE end of the sixth day of the Olympic judo competition, Jose Gomez, a second dan black belt from Barcelona, came up to the British supporters, downcast after the frightful 'home-town' decision that deprived featherweight Sharon Rendle of a chance for a place in the final.

Despite the evident superiority of Rendle and the frequency of her attacks, the two corner judges were swayed by the vociferous support of the 6,000 audience, and gave the fight to her opponent, local favourite Almudena Munoz.

'Even though I am Spanish, I am embarrassed,' he said. 'That was not judo.'

It was a feeling echoed by every neutral observer in the Palau Blaugrana, but it only went a small way to salve the despair of Rendle, who came back to win the bronze. 'I have never minded losing - when I really lost - but not like that,' she said.

George Kerr, the chairman of the British Judo Association, has promised to raise the matter at the highest level.

'The biased refereeing in favour of home competitors, was terrible,' he said. 'And it didn't only affect Rendle. Munoz was protected in her semi-final against the Chinese girl Li Zhongyun and in the final against Noriko Mizoguchi of Japan.

'And the day before, the Spanish lightweight competitor Joaquin Ruiz also seemed to lead a charmed life against penalties. He only lost when the Algerian threw him flat on his back and no one could argue about that.'

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