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Thursday, 1 August, 2002, 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK

English women claim hat-trick

By Mike Burnett
BBC Sport Online at the G-Mex

Michelle Rogers triumphed in the under 78kg category to hand England a hat-trick of gold medals on Thursday evening.

Rogers overcame a tenacious challenge by Wales' Jo Melen in the final to land the title and join Samantha Lowe and Simone Callender on the winners' podium.

Repechage winners Canada's Jacynth Maloney and Foguin Okodombe of Cameroon shared bronze.

Earlier, Lowe had answered critics following her controversial squad selection by clinching the under 70kg title.

"The best bit was winning in my home town"
Michelle Rogers

But Callender was the first to claim gold by winning the under-78kg category.

Wins for both Callender and Rogers relegated Wales to the silver position.

Melen had to settle for second after losing to a skilful display by Rogers while Angharad Sweet was denied by Callender.

With only five women in action, the under 78kg medals were decided after a thrilling round-robin tournament, which saw Callender show off her true class.

She won all four of her matches, including victory over 1998 Commonwealth Championship gold medallist Stephanie Hart of Scotland.

Sweet picked up three wins, consigning Hart to third.

"The crowd were amazing," Callender said. "They just erupt. You feel like you are floating, they lift you so much."

When Manchester-born Rogers entered for the third women's final of the night, the venue roared with applause.

"The best bit was winning in my home town," said the Urmston Judo club fighter, who represented Great Britain at the 1996 Olympics.

"I have never competed in front of a crowd like this, particularly with somany of my friends and family present."

Rogers' win left England with eight gold medals from three days of judo action.

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