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Dean denied title after mishearing ref
A BUCKS teenager would have been crowned British Judo champion on Sunday but for a misunderstanding in her final in Sheffield.
Kelly Dean had a comfortable lead and was less than one minute away from winning the biggest title of her short career.
But then disaster struck.
Her opponent, Sophie Edwards, pinned her down and Dean, 15, thinking the referee had called break, tapped her opponent to release her.
However, the judges misinterpreted the gesture as an act of submission and the title went to her rival by way of a hold down.
Dean’s mother Carole said: “She is really kicking herself. She thought the referee had told them to break up and start again.
“There was less than a minute to go and she was winning by two yukos. She was comfortably the better player and everyone around us said she should have won.
“All the way home she was saying ‘why did I listen to the referee?’ “She’s won quite a few competitions, but that would have been the biggest. It was massive and she was fighting players from the British squad.”
However, it’s not all bad news for the Micklefield Judo Club player.
Her performance in the final and in her two bouts to get that far were not lost on the GB selectors and it’s understood she will get a letter in the coming weeks asking her train with the national squad.
It won’t be the first time.
Dean was also invited to GB training after winning the British Schools Championships back in March, but the travelling ruled her out.
Carole said: “It was just too far away, but I’m going to have to get her there this time.”
Dean’s achievements this season are even more remarkable considering she broke her pelvis horse riding four years ago.
It kept her out of action for a year but she battled back and, with special one-to-one sessions with Wycombe’s star Paralympian Ian Rose in the build-up to Sheffield, did everything but end up with the title.
Carole said: “She is so brave. If she wants to do something she’ll do it. She’s done very well.”
Meanwhile, Amber Smith also fought in Sheffield, but didn’t get a medal.