Judo: Brits can't get to grips

Karen Bryant, the last of British judo’s not-so-magnificent seven has crashed out in her opening bout to Mexican Vanessa Zambotti, an opponent she normally would expect to have overthrown, a defeat that was sadly indicative of the way all of the British team have underachieved here. Seventh was their highest individual placing.

There will now almost certainly be a review of the sport’s future financing by funding distributors UK Sport. Since Athens, when Britain also came away empty-handed, there have been administrative shake-ups by the British Judo Association and a virtually clean sweep of coaching staff.

Two women, Margaret Hicks and Karen Roberts were put in charge of performance following the departure of the chief executive and German national coach. While Craig Fallon did win a world championship in 2005, and there have been some medal successes at European level, the Olympic return from Britain’s four men and three women has again been disastrous. Team manager Roberts, herself a former world championship bronze medallist, admitted she felt “gutted” by the overall result but added: “They all gave us 100 per cent in their preparation and the support team has been completely committed. But it is not just the disappointment of the event here but the years of work that have one into this which does not reflect the ability of the team.

”I hope our funding is not affected. Margaret Hicks (the new performance director) and I came in only a year ago very much with 2012 in mind and UK Sport has always been right behind us. They know we are looking forward to 2102 and that we need to make more changes. What we have to do now is create more depth in our system and this is not something we can do overnight.”

Britain has never won Olympic gold but there have been 16 medals overall, the last of which was Kate Howey’s silver in Sydney eight years ago.

Bryant, competing in her third Olympics, lost by two yukos and a koka to a koka, which basically is judo-speak for two falls to one. The early exit was a particularly bitter blow for the popular 29-year-old heavyweight. ”I’m very frustrated - more disappointed than anything, because I didn’t perform to my full potential,” she said. Zambotti made things very difficult, but I should have been on better form. I still feel pretty raw and I will be asking myself for a long time what went wrong.”

Perversely, she is a performer with some pedigree – a dozen medals at world and European level –and while she was not expected to win a gold there was every hope that the effort she had made over the past year to correct the disparity of her body weight by bench pressing up to 100kg a day and bulking up her diet would get some tangible reward. She is someone for whom the sport “consumes every waking hour.” “Apart from eating and sleeping judo is all I ever do."

In the past she has always seemed amazingly slim compared to many of her giant rivals and found it “mentally and physically” difficult to gain weight, often being outweighed by several stones.

“I used to look in the mirror and say’ that’s not what I want to be.’”

Now, like the rest the team, she will be taking another long hard look at herself as the funding body also re-examines its substantial commitment to a sport that hasn't got to grips with itself.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent