Grimsby Judo Club's Lois Brown strikes bronze after battling Team GB hero
GRIMSBY Judo Club's Lois Brown fought a Team GB hero from the 2012 Olympics as she won a junior title and bagged a bronze medal at the British Championships.
Brown, 18, fought Olympic silver medallist Gemma Gibbons during the senior section of the competition, held in Sheffield.
By battling to a British junior title in the women's under-78kg class, despite only qualifying for the category on the deadline of the weigh-in, the first Dan black belt qualified for the senior event.
And although she lost to London 2012 hero Gibbons, Brown finished third and earned selection for this year's British senior squad.
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Grimsby-trained judoka Kirsty Guest, 18, also impressed as she won a silver medal in the junior over-78kg class.
Gibbons' silver-medal triumph was an iconic image of last summer's Games: when she beat world champion Audrey Tcheumeo, of France, in the semi-finals, the Londoner looked upwards with tears streaming down her cheeks and mouthed the words, "I love you, mum", in tribute to her mother Jeanette who had died from leukaemia in 2004.
Gibbons was ranked just 42nd in the world going into London 2012, but became Britain's first Olympic judo medallist since 2000.
But Grimsby coach Alltoft – whose club is based at St Martins Old Hall, Sutcliffe Avenue – knows all about Olympic success, having guided Sharon Rendle and Diane Bell to gold-medal glory at Seoul in the 1988 Games, when judo was a demonstration sport. He also steered Rendle to a bronze four years later at Barcelona.
And Alltoft is excited by the potential of Beverley-born Brown, who has trained at his Grimsby stable for two years.
"Lois didn't show Gemma too much respect and I wanted her to give it her best and fight her for the experience," said Alltoft.
"Gemma was in great form but Lois showed bottle and I was chuffed to bits with her performance in the competition.
"She's an 'old-school' fighter and isn't afraid of hard work. She could have a very bright future ahead of her."
Guest, a second Dan black belt, also performed well to win a silver medal on her return to competitive action following a spell blighted by injuries.
The only girl to beat her in the Junior British Championship was Jodie Myers, who went on to seal a golden double by winning the over-78kg senior event.