May 21 2013 Latest news:
Dave Evans, Olympic Reporter
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Judo player Gemma Gibbons is one win away from a medal
Greenwich judo player Gemma Gibbons is into the Olympic semi-finals of the under-78kg event at the ExCel Centre after another brilliant performance against former World Champion Marhinde Verkerk of the Netherlands.
The University of East London student had matched her opponent move for move in a real battle in the quarter-finals, but it seemed to be set for three minutes of golden score extra time as the scores remained blank deep into the final minute.
But with just 10 seconds to go, the 25-year-old Londoner launched a stunning throw which initially scored her a match-winning ippon.
That was downgraded to a 10-point Waza-ari, and she then held on for the final few seconds to clinch her place in the last four and put herself just one match away from an Olympic medal.
Liz Egan, the High Performance Sports Manager at the UEL, where Gibbons is studying for a Masters in Exercise Science and Health, was naturally delighted with the way things have gone so far.
“Gemma put on a fantastic performance this morning against former word champion Marhinde Verkerk especially bearing in mind she usually competes in the -70kg category,” said Egan.
“As a Masters student here at the University of East London, Gemma has been incredibly focused over the last year, combining her studies with her Olympic training commitments and both staff and fellow pupils will be rooting for her in the semi-finals.”
Earlier she had won her first round match with a stunning Uchi Mata throw for ippon against Yahima Ramirez of Portugal, before a dramatic match in the last 16 against seventh seed Lkhamdegd Purevjargal from Mongolia.
Leading by a yuko, the smallest score in judo, it looked like the Londoner was facing heartbreaking defeat when with seven seconds to go a late counter was scored as a yuko for the Mongolian after all three judges came on to the mat to discuss it.
With a passivity mark against Gibbons, it looked like the game was up, but incredibly with one second to go, the Greenwich girl went on to the attack and with a Sumi-gaeshi throw she was given a second yuko to win it.
Gibbons will now face French girl Audrey Tcheumeo, who beat the reiging Olympic champion in her quarter-final, for a place in the Olympic final.