Edition No. 32. Autumn, 2002. Today is

Commonwealth Games
Judo Tournament,

GMEX Arena, Manchester:
July 30 - August 1

By: Barnaby Chesterman
I can't do any more than get the Gold medal.

After all the disputes over her selection, there was not even a hint of bitterness in her voice as she said: "I can't do any more than get the Gold medal. I just hope that is enough for some people. It's just amazing, I'm really pleased. The crowd was really behind me and hopefully that shows that they believed I should be here." With her coach, Mark Earle, looking on over her shoulder, I bottled out of asking the question that any self-respecting journalist (something of a oxymoron that, I know) worth his salt would have asked. But to my delight Jim, the man from Press Association, just blurted it out: "So Sam, any message for Kate?" It is moments like that that give us journalists a bad name, but these things have to be done. Lowe, though, kept her composure, shrugged and, looking almost puzzled by the question, simply said: "No, not really." The girl done good.

So on to Callender. She too would be expected to win the Gold. But for her there was far less drama. She was a country mile ahead of the opposition and her victory was never in doubt. With just five competitors, there was a straight pool system with the top three taking the medals. Callender won three by Ippon and one by Waza-ari. She was a comprehensive champion. And to complete a British podium, Angharad Sweet of Wales took Silver and
Scotland's Stephanie Hart the Bronze. While Lowe was always likely to steal the headlines, win or lose, there was another English fighter, competing on the same day, who seemed determined to take his share of the limelight. Wandsworth Lightning's Winston Gordon.

the looks, physique and attitude…

The man has the looks, physique and attitude of a film star: he's tall, likeable and exudes a hint of arrogance. In any mainstream sport he would be a household name. With the added exposure judo received at the Commonwealth Games, Gordon seemed determined to stake his claim
for some national attention.

In truth, Gordon's early rounds were far from spectacular. He struggled to beat both Gareth Knight of New Zealand and Fiji's Nemani Takayawa. But he started to turn it on when it mattered in the semi-final. Here he faced
Cameroon's Rostan Melaping who had provided the biggest Ippon of the tournament with a full height Te-guruma to bury Northern Ireland's Paul Green. But Gordon's experience was too much for Melaping and he produced a superb Uchi-mata, as a counter to a pick-up, which brought him an Ippon and a place in the final. Gordon gave the crowd a taste of the histrionics that would follow later with a one-finger pointed salute (no, not that one - his index) that spanned a full 360 degrees to take in the whole
of the delirious crowd. The question now was who would be his final opponent.

Canada's Keith Morgan, who finished 5th at the Sydney Olympics and at the 1999 Birmingham Worlds, had taken just 30 seconds in total to
dispose of his first two opponents. He was up against Scotland's beast of Bannockburn, Steven Vidler. I am sure someone discovered Vidler in the stone-age, grappling with wild boars in much the same vein as the cartoon
character Obelix, and transported him to the 21st century. There, they put him in a judogi and sent him out on to the tatami with simple instructions: maul.

Vidler's judo is rudimentary to say the least, but he has an excellent Sumi-gaeshi and Shimewaza, and unrivalled ferocity and aggression. And his hands are huge. Against Wales' Steven Withers there were times when I worried whether or not the Welshman would leave the mat with his head still attached to his shoulders.

« back  

Order Olympic Photos!

Subscribe Now!

Commonwealth Games
Judo Tournament 2002







GORDON, Winston (ENG)

GILL, Nicolas (CAN)





LEPAGE,Carolyne (CAN)




LOWE, Ssamantha (ENG)

ROGERS, Mischelle (ENG)


Web Site developed and maintained by Sonic Boom Creative Media Inc. ©2005
All photographs copyright © Bob Willingham 2005 unless otherwise stated.

Editor and Photographer: Bob Willingham
Chief Reporters: Barnaby Chesterman and Simon Hicks
Regular Contributors: Daniel Graide, Adi Jones, Mark Law
Web Site Designer: Matt Carter www.sonicboom.com
Magazine Graphic Designer: Cole Design