Judo: GB judo thrown by poor leadership, says Gordon

LONDON (Reuters) - Leadership failures in British judo have led to disappointment at the London Olympics and the sport needs an overhaul starting from the very top, said one of the country's most experienced fighters on Wednesday.

Britain has not won an Olympic judo medal since 2000 and all but one of its 10 fighters to have competed so far have failed to make it past the morning rounds.

Winston Gordon, who has appeared at three Olympics, blamed the leadership of the British Judo Association and its chairman after he bowed out of the -90kg category.

"My grandmother told me there is a saying -- when a fish rots, it rots from the head," Gordon told reporters after being beaten by Russian Krill Denison after an earlier emphatic victory had given the home crowd hope.

On Tuesday, BPA Chairman Densign White, who competed at three Games himself, was reported by media to have criticised the judo fighters for making excuses and refusing to relocate to a centralised base near London.

"If someone is coming out with those comments, then they have to look on themselves and see what they have done to help everything else come through. They are the ones who employ the coaches," Gordon said.

"The chairman has his opinions, but you should ask him if he was there when we were training -- and I can tell you something, he wasn't."

White is due to step down in September and Gordon said he hoped his replacement "shakes a few feathers".

"Centralisation can work, but you need to get everybody under the roof, all the coaches from the regional clubs, one or two of the players sitting around the mat and have a big discussion on how we can go forwards," he said.

Of the 10 British team members to have so far competed in London, only three have managed to win a fight, with Colin Oates the only one to have emerged with his reputation enhanced by defeating the world number two.

But even he was unable to progress beyond the quarter-finals.

Gordon, however, believes some of the younger members could become title challengers with the right development.

"There is a lot of good guys coming through, hopefully I can inspire them," he said.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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