Fiery judoka Monteiro is Portugal's best hope
By Daniel Alvarenga
LISBON (Reuters) - Falling out of trees and sliding down stairs on old window blinds are more than a warm childhood memory for Portugal's best female judoka, they shaped Telma Monteiro into her nation's top medal hope at the London Olympics.
With both of Portugal's Beijing medal winners missing after triathlon silver medalist Vanessa Fernandes ruled herself out and men's triple jump champion Nelson Evora suffered a leg injury, all eyes are on Monteiro.
She is snappy about it.
"I can't escape being favorite, I am the world's number two, and won pretty much everything over the last year. I will be top seed, there is no escape," Monteiro told Reuters before one of her daily practice sessions in Lisbon.
Portugal will also probably be without sprinter Francis Obikwelu and long jump specialist Naide Gomes, who are both injured.
"I feel sorry for those who won't be there but I see it as motivation," Monteiro said.
At 26, Monteiro has won four European championships, the last one in April in Russia's Chelyabinsk, and came second three times in the world championships, the most important judo competition after the Olympics.
Still, she failed to claim a medal at the last two Games, finishing ninth both in Beijing and Athens. Continued...