Winston Gordon justified in outburst at British Judo's top echelon

Winston Gordon

Winston Gordon

First published in Sport Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

Tooting judo star Winston Gordon’s Olympic outburst at British Judo’s heirarchy has been entirely justified after the team secured two medals and a top eight finish at the Games.


Gordon’s Olympic goodbye at London 2012 was overshadowed by the stinging comments of the British Judo Association chairman Densign White the day before his -90kg competition.


White hit out at the squad for having an excuse culture and not showing the required commitment needed to achieve on the biggest stage of all.


But Kingston’s Karina Byrant secured a bronze medal in the women’s +78kg category after Gemma Gibbons won -78kg silver and Colin Oates secured a top eight finish in the -66kg event.


Gordon could not quite make him eat his words himself as first he beat Canadian Alexandre Emond in the round of 32 before falling to Russian Denisov Kirill at the Excel.


However, former Commonwealth champion Gordon insists the fault lies not with the judo players on the mat, but instead with bosses in the boardrooms.


“My grandmother has a saying, ‘When a fish rots, it rots from the head’,” said Gordon.


“So if somebody is coming out with those comments then they have to have a look at themselves and see what they have done to help everything else come through.


“They are the ones who employ the coaches so when a fish rots, it rots from the head, so you take that with you and make up your own conclusion.


“It was a fantastic week for British judo and proved what we can produce.


“Going into the Olympics we had been hoping for more medals.


“We came together as a team and pushed each other on and two medals is a great return.”


Gordon had a run-in with the British judo chiefs before the Olympics even got going when he was originally overlooked for selection.


The 35-year-old eventually got the decision overturned to book his spot at London 2012 and believed he had vindicated the u-turn with his performance at the Excel.


“I justified my place,” he said. “It was a tight match and my opponent was very awkward. He is an experienced fighter and a world medallist.


“I put everything I could into the fight but he just kept it tight and ran away with the match.


“I could and should have progressed with the cards I had been dealt but I left the mat feeling I had put everything into it.


“The atmosphere was amazing and reminded me of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.


“It’s been a hard time getting to London 2012, that was a battle in itself, but we overcame it.”


At 35, Gordon admits he is now preparing for a life after judo – he will not retire immediately but admitted he would gladly take a role with the crisis-stricken British Judo Association.


In the meantime, the Ernest Bevin Phoenix Club sensei was looking forward to celebrating more Team GB golds this week.


“I would like to be involved in the British Judo Association, start at the bottom and work up to the top,” he said.


“I am involved in grass roots judo now and judo has shown me a way of life.


“I have got a few matches in September so I will see out the rest of the year and then see what the future holds.”


 

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