Britain's hopes to end a 12-year medal drought in judo competition took a tumble today with defeats for both Sarah Clark and Daniel Williams.
Clark, the former British and European champion making her third Olympic appearance, went out in the first round of the women’s under-57kgs category to Automne Pavia of France while Williams, having received a bye through to the second round of the men’s under-73kgs, lost to Beijing bronze medal winner Rasul Boqiev of Tajikistan.
The last British judo medallist was Kate Howey who brought silver back from Sydney 12 years ago to add to the bronze she won at Barcelona in 1992. But if points were awarded for pluck then Clark might have advanced against fourth seed Pavia.
The 34-year-old picked up a passivity penalty midway through the contest but then, spurred on by the crowd, she went on the attack and took the contest into extra-time only to lose to a golden score which Pavia claimed with a wazari throw.
Clark appeared ready to challenge the decision but thought better of it. She said: “Initially I thought I had done enough to turn out of it but that’s why you have referees. I played the plan I wanted to against that girl, but an error at the end cost me the match.”
Clark feels the squad, who were awarded 14 host nation places in all weight categories by the British Olympic Association, can end their medal quest before the action closes on Friday.
“If you are going to win, you have to fight the best players,” she said. “Sophie Cox lost in the first round to the Olympic champion and Colin lost a couple of close matches.
“There is massive potential and we have even more to come, we can only go up from here. We have got a good squad with chances for medals and some of the younger athletes will be able to take a lot from these Games to go onto Rio in 2016.”
Williams was desperately disappointed to lose to Boqiev after an ippon score ended the contest with 21 seconds to go. The 23-year-old left without speaking to the media before returning to give a short reflection on his Olympic appearance.
He said: “I had a game plan and stuck to it for four and a half minutes, then got caught, but that is judo. I am gutted, but I will go on towards Rio.”
His coach Luke Preston said: “Danny did everything right. He just got caught when the guy got his chance, but that is judo.”
Corinna Lawrence of the London Thames Fencing Club beat Bravo Aranguiz of Chile 15-11 in the women’s epee to set up a tough last-32 contest with Romania’s Simona Gherman, the European champion.
Lawrence, 22-year-old winner of 11 British titles, has already admitted she is using the London Games to gain experience for a serious medal challenge in Brazil in 2016. And she was set to get it against Gherman.
James Huckle just missed out on a place in the 10m air rifle final despite support from the Duke of Kent at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich.
The 21-year-old from Harlow looked to have given himself a chance with two perfect rounds of 100 — 10 bullseyes from 10 shots — but his final total of 593 out of 600 was not enough to secure a top-eight finish. Huckle, who competes again in the rifle 3 positions event later in the week, said: “You have to keep yourself disciplined and without a doubt I tried my best. I’ll take a lot from it.”
South Korea’s men’s hockey team beat New Zealand for the first time at the third attempt.
You Hyo-sik scored both goals in a 2-0 win, the opener coming in the first half immediately after the Black Sticks’ Nick Haig had been sin-binned at the Riverbank Arena.