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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 August, 2004, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Fallon hits out at judges
By Andrew Fraser
BBC Sport in Athens

Craig Fallon
Fallon lies distraught after his defeat
Craig Fallon has suggested the judges favoured his Greek opponent after his hopes of winning Britain's first medal of the Games were dashed on day one.

Fallon lost to Revazi Zintiridis by ippon - the judo equivalent of a knock-out - with just four seconds to go in their under 60kg second-round clash.

"I knew it was going to be a bit biased. It always is when you are up against a home fighter," said Fallon.

"Maybe if it hadn't been in Greece the fight would have gone the other way."

Fallon looked to have won by ippon on two separate occasions during his bout against the Georgian-born Zintiridis.

He had taken control of the fight with waza-ari and yuko scores to a koka the lowest- scoring move - from Zintiridis.

He then had to watch as Zintiridis lost to Iran's Masoud Haji Akhondzade in the next round, denying Fallon the chance to chase a bronze medal via the repechage.

"There were a few times when I thought I had counted him and that ippon would have been called," said Fallon.

"And the time when I threw him for waza-iri (a seven-point score) I thought that might have been ippon.

"But it's up to the referees on the day."

The world silver medallist admitted, however, that he had made a mistake by allowing Zintiridis to snatch ippon as the seconds ticked away.

I'll get more experience over the next four years and I'll be back
Craig Fallon

"I was still winning and I threw the fight away. It comes down to how much concentration you have on the day," he said.

"In the last four seconds I backed off. If I had gone forward there's no way I'd have been thrown. I'm not a good defender anyway. I'm always better when I'm attacking."

Fallon's medal chances had been boosted when Olympic champion Tadahiro Nomura and world champion Min Ho Choi came out in the opposite half of the draw.

And he breezed through his first-round bout, beating Australia's Scott Fernandis by ippon in just 37 seconds.

"The way had been opened up. Everyone that was ahead of me was very beatable and I'm disappointed to lose," he said.

"I hurt my shoulder early on in the fight and he kept pounding it. But injury or not, I should not have lost in the last four seconds.

Ryoko Tani
Ryko Tani (right) was appearing in her fourth Olympics final

"Maybe next time the luck will be there and I will be better prepared.

"I'm only 21 - in four years I may even be peaking. I'll get more experience over the next four years and I'll be back."

Meanwhile, Japanese pair Tadahiro Nomura and Ryoko Tani made history when they won golds in their respective categories.

Nomura became the first triple Olympic champion in the sport when he beat Nestor Khergiani, of Georgia, to claim top honours in the men's under 60kg.

And Tani, formerly Tamura, became the first woman to win a second title when she overcame France's Frederique Jossinet in the under 48kg final.

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