Judo juggernaut brought to a halt

TRARALGON-BORN judoka Eoin Coughlan’s Olympic dream is over following a loss to Korean Lee Seung-Su in the round of 32.

Coughlan made his debut in the 81 kilogram men’s competition early last Wednesday morning, local time.

He was eliminated when his opponent recorded one Ippon (full point), to Coughlan’s Yuko (part point).

The 24-year-old’s mother, Jean, who was watching the match at home, said the do-or-die nature of judo meant that one false move or piece of bad luck could lead to a loss.

“The thing with judo and most of the combat sports is you get one fight,” Jean said.

“If you happen to get unlucky in your one fight you’re out of it.”

She said Coughlan came undone when his opponent went to the ground in a bid to execute a “sacrifice” move.

“Eoin cartwheeled around it to avoid being pulled to the ground and unfortunately one of his arms got left behind,” Jean said.

He soon found himself in an arm lock and was left with no option but to tap out.

“When that happens the sensible thing to do is tap out because you don’t want to get a broken arm,” she said.

“He’d be hoping he’d go for another one (Olympics), so there’s no point in weakening parts of his anatomy to no avail.”

Coughlan demonstrated his class in qualifying for the Rio Games, winning two Oceania championships to seal his place in the team.

He was well supported in his Olympic bid, with the Coughlan cheer squad including girlfriend Sara Collins, sister and fellow champion judoka Aoife and uncle David Coughlan joining him.

He was also backed by his grandmother, Pam Coughlan, who travelled from Ireland to watch her grandson compete.

Jean said her son was now making the most of his time in Brazil and taking advantage of the opportunity to view other Olympic sports.

She said he wanted to thank everyone who had supported him along the way.

“It’s kind of special somebody from the country making the Olympics,” Jean said.

“It shows that just because you’re in the country that (it doesn’t mean) you can’t aim high.”

Coughlan started judo as a five-year-old at Yinnar and District Judo Club, before moving to Traralgon.

Eventually he moved to Melbourne to pursue his judo dream, earning himself a Victorian Institute of Sport scholarship.