Sarah Adlington achieves judo immortality with Commonwealth title

·3 min read
Sarah Adlington achieves judo immortality with Commonwealth title

Sarah Adlington achieved Scottish judo immortality as she earned her second Commonwealth gold medal in Coventry.

Adlington produced an ippon with just 30 seconds on the clock to turn her fight against India’s Tulika Maan on its head in an instant.

Maan had scored an early waza-ari and looked to be heading for gold before 35-year-old Adlington produced the winning move to clinch gold.

There were tears from the Edinburgh fighter as she left the mat to rapturous applause from the large Scottish contingent in the crowd.

Adlington admitted that she had been feeling the pressure of expectation in the days adding up to the fight but delivered when it mattered to take her second Commonwealth title after winning gold at Glasgow 2014.

“Anything else other than gold today would have felt like disaster but I’m on top of the world now,” beamed Adlington.

“I found it harder this time because I knew what being Commonwealth champion meant.

“I’ve dealt with the pressure phenomenally well, it’s a massive relief.”

Adlington refused to be pushed on what lay next for her with an Olympics two years away.

If this is to be her last Games, Adlington bowed out as a champion, as the pressure visibly released from her at the end of the fight.

“The pressure, the expectation is massive,” added Adlington. “Tears of joy, relief, mixed emotions for sure.”

This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, compromises of over 250 athletes, all vying for medal success.

Saltires littered the stands as the Tartan Army roared on their hero as she became the most successful Scottish judoka of all time.

And the Scottish fans could not help but break into song as Adlington was presented with her gold and O Flower of Scotland rung around the Coventry Arena,

“Did you hear the Scottish contingent behind me?,” smiled Adlington. “I couldn’t not sing, could I?

“It was the first time they’ve heard it, so they’ve made the most of it.”

The Scottish faithful who had made the trip south had more success to celebrate too, with Rachel Tytler taking bronze in the -78kg category.

Tytler beat Canada’s Coralie Godbout with an ippon just half a minute into their contest.

And the 25-year-old hailed the impact of the crowd that made it feel like a true home game.

“It’s fantastic having everyone here,” said Tytler, who bounced back from defeat to England’s Emma Reid in the quarter-final to battle through the repechage and take home a medal.

“It’s a really special day for me,” added Tytler.

“I’ve never fought in front of so many people I know in and out of judo.

“I’ve been saying that all week, the Scottish fans have gone above and beyond. It’s been fantastic; I’ve had loads of messages from people as far as Australia.

“I was at Glasgow [2014] watching it and I knew it was amazing then, but to actually have that for me is crazy.”

However, it was disappointment for Andrew McWatt who missed out on a bronze medal in the +100kg category with defeat to Sebastien Perrinne of Mauritius.

In an attritional contest, Perrinne landed a crucial waza-ari midway through the fight and McWatt was unable to find a way back into the contest despite the Mauritian picking up two penalties.

A third infringement would have handed 21-year-old McWatt victory, but it was not enough for the Aberdeenshire athlete, who was a late call-up to the Games.

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