Sunday, December 27, 2009

Judo: Adams lacks the finishing touch.

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Fallibility in top sportsmen can be a shocking discovery as Neil Adams's faithful followers experienced at the British Open Judo Championships at Crystal Palace on Saturday, when he was stopped en route to a record ninth title by the useful, but not outstanding Frenchman, Jean Michel Berthet.

It had been eight years since Adams last lost on home ground, and even the international disappointments of the past three years did not prepare the British judo fraternity for this one.

Having come well through his first six fights, with four outright wins, one part-score and one decision against his in-form domestic rival Martin McSorley, he was expected to overcome Berthet, who is more of a bruiser than a technician.

Looking slightly tired at the start - having had just five minutes rest after beating Jukka Metsola, of Finland - Adams decided to play a tactical game against Berthet, and concentrated solely on getting his favoured grips, confident that he would then throw his opponent for a clear score. But, with the help of mat-side coaching from his compatriot, Gilbert, the last man to beat Adams in England, back in 1978, Berthet frustrated all Adams's attempts to settle, and kept on putting in small attacks to put himself in the lead.

Without a late score the match was lost for Adams, but there was no sign of the old flair or magic; in the dying seconds, he was even pinned momentarily as he searched desperately for some resolution.

'I lacked the top level of conditioning I needed for this,' Adams said. 'Berthet is a strong and awkward fighter, and I needed to be in better shape. '

Adams pulled out of the bronze medal fight due to a back injury, but declared that it was not the injury that lost him the fight. 'I said I was going in for fun, and although I would not call that fun, I don't regret it,' he said.

The defeat overshadowed good performances by Adams's British colleagues. Wolverhampton's Olympic lightweight bronze medallist Kerrith Brown secured his fifth British Open title - and he is still only 23 - while clubmates Densign White and Dennis Stewart won their first Open titles, despite having been internationals for some years, in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions respectively. Carl Finney, the 19-year-old from the north west, also did well to win the bantamweight section against strong foreign opposition.

RESULTS: Bantamweight (under 60kg): 1, C Finney (GB); 2, T Dibert (Fr). Featherweight (under 65kg): 1, H Abdoune (Fr); 2, J Brenner (WG). Lightweight (under 71kg): 1, K Brown (GB); 2, W Cusack (GB). Light-middleweight (under 78kg): 1, J-M Berthet (Fr); 2, O Schaffter (Switz). Middleweight (under 86kg): 1, D White (GB); 2, V Fegert (WG). Light-heavyweight (under 95kg): 1, D Stewart (GB); 2 N Kokotaylo (GB). Heavyweight (over 95kg): 1, J Platte (WG); 2, A Van Der Groeben (WG). Copyright (C) The Times, 1986

Source Citation
"Judo: Adams lacks the finishing touch." Times [London, England] 14 Apr. 1986. Academic OneFile. Web. 27 Dec. 2009. .

Gale Document Number:CJ117887462

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