Stevens no slouch

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The Independent Online

reports from Munich

Older judo fighters do not get weaker, they just slow down. They like to get their grip, get their opponents in their sights, so to speak, and only then unleash their favourite techniques.

It is the job of a young man in competition to shake 'em up, show 'em a bit of disrespect, blind them with speed, tire them out - and then throw them.

This is exactly what Ray Stevens, Britain's light-heavyweight Olympic silver medalist, is finding as, at 32, he gets back on the trail to try to go one better at the Atlanta Games.

He has not done very well for some time - since winning a silver at the European Championships in 1994. But yesterday, at the World Masters, he won a bronze medal to add to the two bronzes taken by the more youthful talents of the light-middleweight Graeme Randall and lightweight Danny Kingston.

Stevens threw Detlef Knorrek, of Germany, three times, ending with a perfect left-hip throw; he arm-locked Min-Soon Kim, of South Korea, and trapped Iceland's Bjaarni Fridricksson in a hold. And, after being countered by Patric Nebhuth, of Germany, in the semi-finals, he rebounded from defeat to conquer the youthful power of Romania's 23-year-old Radu Ivan for a bronze.

Randall, 20, and Kingston, 23, both showed imagination and flair, winning five of their six fights with exceptional throwing skills. Each beat top opposition - Randall threw Jason Morris, the American Olympic silver medallist, and Kingston edged past Daisuke Hideshima, the Japanese world champion, on penalties.