'I didn't attack enough' — Drysdale-DaleyThursday, July 29, 2021
BY IAN BURNETT
TOKYO, Japan — Ebony Drysdale-Daley, Jamaica's first-ever judoka, is a broken woman this morning.
Long after she was disqualified in the women's 70kg fight with Portugal's Barbara Timo in elimination round 32, on Wednesday, she remained in a sombre mood.
Like her Coach Fitz Davis, she believes she let one slip away as she never gave a true representation of herself on the mat on what was the biggest stage of her life.
“I just wasn't able to get myself into the fight; I didn't attack enough and that led to me being penalised out,” she told the media inside Nippon Budokan.
“A bit of a slow burner getting into the contest, I didn't do enough. And it's something that me and my coach both discussed, to up my work rate, and unfortunately I allowed my opponent to get more on me, to get in there with the attacks. I knew that really I could manoeuvre off the throws but it was me being able to do my technique, something I couldn't go forward with,” she explained.
Draysdale-Dale admitted that unlike her, Timo was sharp and on point with her game plan.
“She knew that in order to secure the contest she just needed to get the attacks in first, just be ahead of the game, something that I needed to step up [with] — and I just didn't.”
To say that the 26-year-old British-born judoka is deflated would be an understatement. She had no reason to be happy, even if she realised a lifelong dream of becoming an Olympian.
“I didn't want just to participate, so it's really underwhelming, if I'm absolutely honest. I knew there was more for me to give and had everything to give in this past and all the build-up to it. It's not a true representation of all the work [that] me and my coach and all the team behind me have done, so a lot of people in the background know how much work I've put in and they have put in to me. Iit's been really disappointing because they've done the training. I've been there, they've put all this into me — my coach, Fitzroy Davis and the Jamaica Judo Association and the many other people around who have afforded me the training, being able to get me to competitions and training camps.”
And fully cognisant of the four-year cycle of the Olympics makes Drysdale-Daley even more disappointed, as the opportunity to redress yesterday's anomaly seems far away.
“The Olympics is a four-year cycle,” she said, vocalising the obvious. “It's not a true representation of how I could have gone. I am more than capable of doing such a large event. The Olympics is the pinnacle but honestly, the scale of competition isn't a factor just because anyone will tell you [that] to get to here you've already gone through it all, so you just want to put it all out there.
“It's just mainly when it comes to judo and how we are shaping up on the mat, those are a few things surrounding us. If I'm honest with you I don't (feel satisfied). It's been a lot of stress to get in here with myself and my team and my family, so the disappointment is huge. I can't avoid it, I can't deny it. I have to eat it right now and I have to pull it in because I haven't put all my life and training in this to be here [disqualified]. I want it to be [a] proud [moment] for the flag and also for myself, so I'm sad it wasn't here. I thought the draw was a tough opponent but I'm more than capable, and that's why I feel so underwhelmed.”
Coach Davis was just as devastated, not with the loss, per se, but the manner of defeat, having drafted the perfect plan but not having the execution to match on the day.
“We went through the fight plan, we knew exactly what the girl [Timo] was going to do. She was going to be dropping, she was going to do a lot of actions, a lot of hard work, and I said to Ebony, 'This is how she's going to fight you so you are going to have to be the same. You've got to attack, attack one for one.' But in this game, once you allow a person to get in front of you and they get a penalty in front of you, unless you don't get another one back you are always going to be behind and the referee will give you another one [and] then that's it. The fight is over,” explained Davis.
He added: “If she did execute then she would have known that the girl was going to attack straight away. You can't just break grip off; you've got to look like you are working, you've got to be doing something. And as you can see, all she was doing was walking around and trying to get a grip and trying to break the grip, but when you do things like that you still got to attack. And if you see the referee and the judges see that you are not doing that, they are going call that negative judo and they are going to penalise you for it, so that was one of the things [that led to her disqualification].”
And Davis did not hide the fact that he won't be letting up on Drysdale-Daley anytime soon, because he firmly believes she wasted a grand opportunity on the biggest stage of her career.
“Oh yes [going to be hard on her]. It's the Olympic Games! It isn't a competition where you just go down the road. At the end of the day you knew what you were coming in for and you knew what the girl was going to do. You've got to fight, you've got to execute. If you went out swinging and fighting then I could understand that, but I'm a hard taskmaster when it comes to judo because I'm used to champions, I'm used to people winning. I'm not used to things happening like this. She was too passive and I wanted her to be aggressive and on point — and it wasn't like that today.”
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