Gibbons claims judo silver

02 August 2012 / 18:21

Gemma Gibbons delivered Great Britain's first Olympic judo medal in 12 years with a silver after she was beaten by American Kayla Harrison in the women's under-78kgs final at ExCeL.

Gibbons, who spent six months out of the sport after needing surgery on her shoulder, had lit up North Arena 2 as she battled to through to semi-finals and then disposed of world champion Audrey Tcheumeo with an ippon throw in golden score.

However, the gold proved just out of reach for the 25-year-old as the fourth-seeded American claimed a narrow 2-0 victory, for the United States' first ever judo Olympic title.

Coached by Kate Howey, who was the last British judo fighter to win Olympic silver at the Sydney Games, Gibbons opened up well, but was caught by an early Yuko score.

Gibbons - who had looked to the Heavens and mouthed "I love you mum" after her semi-final win, in memory of Jeanette who passed away from leukaemia in 2004 - showed few signs of fatigue from her gruelling encounters so far.

The British judoka gripped well, but her opponent also showed good defensive skills to evade being caught and edged further ahead with another Yuko as the contest moved into the final minute, from which she closed it out.

Nevertheless, Gibbons left the Tatami to a standing ovation, and a congratulatory handshake from Cameron before heading off for the medal ceremony.