There was also a bronze medal from Danny Kingston, 21, perhaps a more significant result in the long term. But he will have a hard time to equal Bell's record. Two world titles, four European titles - the first of which she won 12 years ago.
By winning a fifth place at the World Championships last October, she qualified for a light-middleweight place for Britain in the Olympics. Bell, 32, has still to confirm her selection for Atlanta because Cheryl Peel, 19, from Essex has been dogging her every footstep. In Paris Peel took fifth place while Bell took the silver, thrown only by the powerful Cuban Ileana Beltran. That will probably help her make up her mind.
What was most memorable about Bell's path to the final in Paris was the way she did it. On Saturday she showed that she can produce big throws as well as rely on determination and fitness. She was losing on attacks against Sandra Wurmn, of Germany, in the second round, when three seconds from the end, she produced a shoulder wheel throw (something not usually in her repertoire) to snatch victory.
There was disappointment yesterday with no British medals. Ray Stevens, the Olympic light-heavyweight silver medallist, threw Eric Faroux, of France, with a superb tomoe-nage (whirl throw) but was thrown by Igor Gorbovka, of Ukraine.
Neither Sharon Rendle nor Debbie Allan, the two featherweights competing for Olympic selection, reached medal fights - Rendle was held by Legna Verdecia, of Cuba, and Allan footswept by Belgium's Heidi Goossens.
Yet, with recent form, the team manager Neil Adams' hopes of equalling the Barcelona Olympics tally of four medals looks attainable.
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