The European Judo Championships opened at Crystal Palace near London on Thursday, and as expected the Soviet Union captured one of the first gold medals, when G.
The European Judo Championships opened at Crystal Palace near London on Thursday, and as expected the Soviet Union captured one of the first gold medals, when G. Onashvili beat C. Dolman of the netherlands in the final of the heavyweight class.
In the light-heavyweight final, G. Zuvela of Yugoslavia struck gold by a convincing win over G. Neureuther of West Germany. Earlier, Zuvela had been involved in a contest that had brought howls of derision from the crowd. In the semi-final against David Starbrook of Britain, the Yugoslavian had persistently used a shin kick on Starbrook's legs which caused his opponent serious trouble.
The referee did warn Zuvela against using the shin kick, and he eventually won with a koka, which is the narrowest possible points decision. Starbrook's right leg was so badly bruised that he was taken to hospital for an X-ray which showed that he had a stressed fracture. Starbrook, who is an Olympic and European silver medalist, was obviously disappointed at only winning bronze, for his performances in earlier rounds had raised hopes of at least a silver medal and perhaps a gold.
Though the Soviet Union only won one of the gold medals on this, the first day of the Championships, they are still the favourites to top the medal ratings. In fact at the end of the day eight nations shared the twelve medals in the final placings of the middle-weight, light-heavy-weight and heavy-weight classes.
SYNOPSIS: One of the first gold medals to be won at the European Judo Championships, which opened on Thursday at the Crystal Palace near London, was decided by this light-heavy-weight contest between G. Zuvela of Yugoslavia and G. Neureuther of West Germany. Zuvela eventually won the gold, and the German the silver.
In the early stages both contestants found difficulty in coming to terms with their opponent. The audience were paying particularly close attention to the match because in the earlier semi-final. Zuvela had enraged supporters of Britain's David Starbrook by persistently using a shin kick on Starbrook's legs. The Englishman and the Yugoslavian had parted with a show of ill-felling as they went out, and Starbrook's leg was later said to be fractured.
The heavy-weight class was also decided on Thursday when these two successful semi-finalists -- Onashvili of the Soviet Union, and Dolman of the Netherlands -- met in this final bout. They provided the audience with a superb display of strength and technique, with the Russian gaining the edge over the Dutchman.
Ever larger audiences are being attracted to Judo matches in Britain. As with other countries, it is becoming a leading participant and spectator sport, and the British team did well in the ???unich Olympics when half of them returned with medals. The British enthusiasts were impressed by the style with which Onachvili overcame Dolman to win the gold medal. The Russians are still favourites to top the medal ratings during the rest of the championships.