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Sister act steals the show as the Scots come out fighting

AND to think people used to say that no good could ever come from fighting with your siblings.

Kimberley Renicks roars in celebration after defeating Shushila Likmabam of India to win gold. Picture: Colin Mearns
Kimberley Renicks roars in celebration after defeating Shushila Likmabam of India to win gold. Picture: Colin Mearns

Kimberley and Louise Renicks know that not to be true and now have the medals to prove it. A childhood spent rolling about the floor of their Coatbridge home was put to good use yesterday at a packed and raucous Hall 3 at Glasgow's SECC. The sisters who used to play together, won together on a tremendous day for Scottish judo that ended with a haul of two gold, one silver and three bronze medals.

The Renicks led the way to the podium and it soon became a stampede. Kimberley, the younger of the sisters at 26 years old, has a cherubic face but hands and feet that can do serious damage.

You would not take her on a date and not then walk her to the front door at the end of the night. She has been performing judo since she was four years old - no wonder she looked tired come the end - and the culmination of that lifetime's dedication to her discipline has now arrived.

Renicks is the new Commonwealth Games champion at the women's -48kg level, her successful final bout against India's Shushila Likmabam concluding not long after 6pm making her Scotland's first gold medallist of these Games.

The only person to show better timing was First Minister Alex Salmond who took a seat just before the finals got underway.

It was not a bad day's work for Renicks. Her two earlier bouts to reach the final had lasted a total of 92 seconds, and she only needed a further 84 to conclude the ippon - judo's knock-out blow - needed to take the title. A spontaneous performer who likes to lead from the front, not even she was quite sure how she had won her gold medal.

"I don't actually know what I did," she said candidly. "It was just a reaction. I just felt a move and went for it. It's all about feeling and if you feel the move is there you go for it and it worked for me."

Her big sister was never going to let her steal all the glory and within the hour Louise was following Kimberley on to the top step of the podium. The 31 year-old required greater patience before her efforts were rewarded.

With just three seconds remaining in her final against England's Kelly Edwards, no points on the board and both judokas on three yellow cards apiece, the fight seemed destined to move into a sudden-death golden score period. Edwards, though, was penalised one last time and Renicks suddenly had a gold medal, too.

"The clock is quite big so I knew there wasn't much time left," revealed Louise. "When she was penalised for dropping I felt very good about it all. It's a beautiful sport but sometimes it's about tactics and today I had to use them."

Such is the close bond between the sisters, both Kimberley and Louise seemed almost as pleased for the other one as they were about their own success. "I was more nervous for her fighting than I was for myself," said Kimberley. "I was jumping up and down like a lunatic. As a sibling I'm just really emotional for her," echoed Louise. "I wanted to grab her and hug her. We wanted to come home with double gold and we've done it."

Stephanie Inglis could not make it a hat trick of gold medals after losing the final bout of the night to England's Nekoda David in the -57kg category but a silver medal was still a decent reward for her efforts.

"I'm disappointed not to finish on a high after the rest of the team all won their medal fights," she conceded. "But it's still silver and that's not bad."

The fourth female Scottish judoka did not leave empty-handed either. Connie Ramsay had to go down the repechage route to reach her bronze medal -57kg fight but then made the most of the opportunity. There she defeated Paule Sitcheping of Cameroon then somehow still had the energy to celebrate by walking on her hands around the ring.

The men did their bit, too, in the final fights of their respective careers. Disappointment for James Millar at losing his -66kg semi-final to England's Colin Oates would soon be forgotten when he defeated Mathews Punza of Zambia with just 47 seconds left on the clock. For someone who was only called up to Team Scotland a fortnight ago, it was a terrific achievement.

There was another bronze for John Buchanan. At 38 years old, he had come out of retirement to compete at -60kg level and, in front of his three young children, he made good on that decision. "Even If I had lost that fight I felt it was the right decision to have a go," he said.

"You don't often fight in judo with that reception. It was just immense."

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