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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 19:50 GMT 20:50 UK

Randall shows his class

By Mike Burnett
BBC Sport Online at the G-Mex

An Australian, a Scotsman and an Englishman cleared up the men's gold medals in an exciting night of judo action on Wednesday.

Australia's Tom Hill claimed the first triumph of the night with his tough encounter against Cypriot Christos Christodoulides in the under 73kg final, while England skipper Winston Gordon finished the evening with victory over Canadian Keith Morgan for the under 90kg title.

But the ever popular Scot Graeme Randall stole the show with his world class display against England's Thomas Cousins in the under 81kg category.

The 1999 world champion's entered the hall of the GMEX to the rousing sound of bagpipes and applause from his very vocal supporters in the crowd.

"It's absolutely magnificent, equal to when I won the World Championship in 1999"
Graeme Randall

But Cousins remained unpeturbed by the reputation of the man in front of him and proved a worthy opponent, challenging Randall at every available opportunity.

But, after conceding some early points, the Edinburgh-based athlete came back, displaying top class technique to take the fight in the dying minutes.

Naturally, Randall was delighted with his performance, which confirmed his status as still one of the biggest stars on the current British judo scene.

"It's absolutely magnificent, equal to when I won the World Championship in 1999," said Randall.

"I had an injury at the start of the year, and to come back to put in a performance like that - I think it speaks for itself."

In the prior play-off bouts, New Zealand's Tim Slyfield and Luke Preston of Wales claimed bronze.

Hill's fight in the first men's final was not much easier than Randall's as he was forced to score two late waza-ari to win the bout and leave Christodoulides with the silver.

It was double Australian joy 20 minutes later when team-mate Maria Pekli claimed the women's under 57kg title.

"This is the biggest thing I've ever done," Hill said.

"The Commonwealth Games gets a lot of publicity and I'm delighted to win."

Scotland's Lee McGrorty and Jean Francois Marceau of Canada shared the bronze after their third place-deciding bouts before the final.

Christodoulides and Hill had already scuppered the possibility of a home nations final when they surprised their respective opponents in the semis.

The Cypriot showed unbelievable flexibility to shatter the dreams of McGrorty while Hill denied 2002 British Open champion Lee Burbridge.

A night of thrilling judo action was brought to a close when Gordon overcame a frustratingly defensive Morgan to take the last medal of the evening.

It looked as though the Canadian might snatch the win after Gordon was penalised for taking a double-handed grip on one side of his opponent's outfit.

But a desperately late score for Gordon neutralised Morgan's dubious koka and gave current British Open champion the Commonwealth Games title.


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