CHRIS SHERRINGTON likes to do things the proper way. After his second round defeat the Royal Marine judoka gave a sharp salute to the members of his regiment watching in the stands and briskly marched from the arena – the only problem they were playing Dizzee Rascal rather than Sarie Marais.
Edinburgh star Sherrington is the heaviest member of the British Olympic team, tipping the scales at just over 21 stone of pure muscle.
However, this is a sport where wily tactics can trump brute strength – as witnessed by the sudden exit of Guam’s Ricardo Blas, the heaviest athlete at the entire Games who weights in at a Big Mac munching 34 stone.
Sherrington took just seconds to win his opening fight against Australia’s Jake Andrewartha, reducing the big man from Down Under to tears with a brilliantly executed Ippon, judo’s equivalent of a knockout blow.
But it was always going to be tougher against Russia’s Alexander Mikhaylin, a two-time world champion – although the last of those titles was seven years ago – who won bronze at last year’s World Championships, took the European title earlier this year and had only lost twice in 19 fights in 2012.
Sherrington – as befits his Commando training – took the battle to the Russian and the contest stayed tight, with only a low-scoring move ending the British heavyweight’s hopes of a place in the quarter-finals.
“Nearly is not good enough, as a Royal Marine it needs to be a win for me to be totally happy,” he said.
“I’ve been trying to beat that guy for six years and I have worked and worked on him. But he’s got 30 years experience and he manipulates you in ways you would not believe, you can’t see it, you have to feel it. I managed to keep him at bay right till the end and I’m gutted. That’s the closet I’ve ever got to him.
“It was a low score, it wasn’t an Ippon and maybe next time he will get what’s coming.”
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