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.
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
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.
Judo Tournament 2002
FALLON, Craig (ENG)
WARREN, James (ENG)
HILL, Tom (AUS)
RANDALL, Graeme (SCO)
GORDON, Winston (ENG)
GILL, Nicolas (CAN)
QERAWAQA, Nac (FIJ)
VAN DER GEEST, Dennis (NED)
SINGLETON, G. (ENG)
LOWE, Ssamantha (ENG)
ROGERS, Mischelle (ENG)
CALLENDER, S (ENG)