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Van Zyl to grapple for judo bronze at Games

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By Mark Etheridge

London 2012 Olympian Jacques van Zyl will  fight for the bronze medal in Friday evening’s judo medal competitions.

That’s after the African champion lost his semi-final to New Zealand’s Adrian Leat in the 73-kilogram category.

He lost his crucial bout 110-0 to the Kiwi they call Frodo and will now take on Northern Ireland’s Eoin Fleming in the evening’s two bronze medal fights.

‘Summing up the fight coach Vintcent Redpath said: ‘Jacques controlled the early stages and then the New Zealand guy started getting control of the upper body exchanges.

‘So Jacques backed off a bit and then received a shido (penalty). After he upped the tempo he committed too much, and the next thing he had lost on ippon after a counter.

‘That’s what happens in judo… it just takes a split-second’s loss of concentration.’

Earlier the West Rand athlete, our only judoka in action on Friday, had opened his Games campaign by beating his Papua New Guinea opponent in easy enough fashion.
This, after the top seed had a bye in the opening round.

His first fight was done and dusted in under a minute as he locked down Kinsley Vui in a bout-winning ippon hold-down.

He then came up against Scotland’s Patrick Dawson. The Scot had reached that bout by beating his English opponent in a bruising encounter that went into the golden score extra time period of play.

Against Dawson there were some anxious faces in the SA camp as with 2min 30sec to fight Van Zyl had a shido against his name. Those fears were erased 20sec later when the scores were levelled.

And with 1:18sec left in the bout, the critical moment came when Van Zyl suddenly came up with one of the most basic throws in judo, an outside leg-hook that sent the Scot sprawling and Van Zyl in to the next round.

‘I told him to up the tempo,’ said coach Redpath. ‘The Scottish guy was making it very difficult to get a grip – he’s a very good fighter.

‘But the ippon came at exactly the right moment. A very difficult fight and it was good to get behind us.’

Van Zyl now has a chance to remotivate himself and join -66kg countryman Siyabulela Mabulu who won bronze on Thursday. Richard Murray’s triathlete bronze is the other medal won by SA so far.

Pictures: Wessel Oosthuizen. For free pictures of all Team SA’s activities at these Commonwealth Games go to www.sascocimages.co.za.


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