Gemma Gibbons wins a silver medal - Team GB's first judo medal in 12 years - in a thrilling final against the USA.
She competed in the final against Kayla Harrison, who had beaten the Brazilian world number one in the semi-final.
Gibbons got off to a bad start, conceding a yuko to Harrison. The American then scored to further yuko's against Gibbons to guarantee her medal - the USA's first in judo.
Gibbons, who competes in the less than 78kg category, has made herself a surprise heroine of London 2012. The world number 33 beat a host of higher ranked rivals to make her way to the final.
She started the day by beating Portugal's Yahima Ramirez by ippon. Ramirez was the 2011 European bronze medallist.
I could cry. Gemma Gibbons into the final in Judo. Brilliant— Denise Lewis (@RealDeniseLewis) August 2, 2012
In the quarter finals she beat Mongolia's Lkhamdegd Purevjargal, in a hard fought match, by scoring two yuko. Purevjargal was the seventh seeded judoka (the name for male and female judo athletes)in the competition.
In the quarter finals she beat the Netherlands' Marhinde Verkenk, a formidable oppenent who had beaten Japan's number two seed Akari Ogata earlier in the day.
The win set up a semi-final against 2011 world champ, and third seed, Audrey Tcheumeo. Tcheumeo, at 5ft 10in and 12.3 stones, had a slight height and weight advantage over Gibbons, who trains with Metro Judo Club, at 5ft 8in and 12.1 stones.
Gibbons and Tcheumo had no score at the end of the semi-final, moving into a "golden score" period. Gibbons one by an ippon by throwing the Frenchwoman on her back.
The rules of judo
In judo the athletes (judokas) aim to score points against their rival threw a variety of holds and throws.
The differenty types of hold or throw score different amounts of points.The best score is ippon, which can be achieved via a number of moves including throwing your opponent onto their back with their feet leaving the floor, or pinning your opponent to the floor for 25 seconds.
Other scores are waza-ari and yuko. The mat in the competition is called the tatami and the contest is begun by the referee shouting "Hajime" and finished with the word "Matte".
Gibbons, of Greenwich, started competing in judo at the age of six, and 19 years later is studying for a Masters in exercise science at the University of East London.
She has recently recovered from a shoulder injury and stepped up a weight category. This year she won the British Open and silver medals at the World Cups in Romania and Estonia.
Her progression is a welcome boost for Team GB's judokas who have all failed to get close to a medal fight. British fighter James Austin, competing in the less than 100kg category today, exited in the first round.
Team GB's judo team has not won an Olympic medal since 2000.
02 August 2012
02 August 2012
02 August 2012