Fifth for Jonathan Drane in Rio

It was a case of near and yet so far for Jonathan Drane as he finished fifth at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games on Friday 9 September in the -81kg weight category.

The Norfolk judoka was one shido away from a Paralympic bronze medal as he took on Azerbaijan’s Rovshan Safarov.

Safarov had picked up a shido before the contest was even underway for failing to grip up before soon picking up two more for the same offence. However in that time he also scored two yukos on Drane while also forcing the British judoka to pick up a shido.

Another exchange saw neither man really grip up, however after consultation with his corner judges the referee only gave a shido to Drane and not long after that some nice ashi-waza took the British athlete over for ippon and gave Safarov the win.

Drane started his day taking on Sharif Khalilov (UZB) and it was a strong performance early doors as he forced his opponent to pick up three shidos and moved into the quarter-finals.

There he took on the 2004 Paralympic champion Cyril Jonard (FRA) and the experienced Frenchman forced the British judoka to pick up two shidos before it was turned around by Drane with a couple of very quick yukos giving him a hard-earned victory.

Jungmin Lee (KOR) was his next obstacle in the semi-finals and the classy Korean proved too good as after an even start he got stronger and his dangerous drop seoi attacks took their toll. Eventually he forced Drane over twice for waza-ari leaving the British judoka to go for bronze.

Sadly it was not to be on his Paralympic debut and on Saturday we will see Natalie Greenhough (-70kg), Sam Ingram (-90kg), Chris Skelley (-100kg) and Jack Hodgson (+100kg) go for the gold in Rio.

You can follow the build-up from midday on our Rio 2016 live blog with the judo starting at 2pm.

Photo credit: David Pearce/@triphotographer