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The left foot injury Ryoko Tani sustained during training in mid-July was worse than first thought, but the 2000 Sydney Olympic champion in women’s 48-kg judo insisted Wednesday she will compete in Athens to defend her title.

“For about 10 days, I could not set my foot down on the floor,” Tani told a press conference at Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo where she joined a training camp for the national team to the Aug. 13-29 Athens Games.

“I wouldn’t call it a minor injury as I couldn’t walk for some time,” she said. “When I got injured, I wondered how easy it would be if I could just give up Athens.”

Tani, 28, damaged a ligament on the outer side of her left heel after getting her foot caught between tatami mats and falling down on July 12 during a pre-Olympic training camp in Osaka.

“Now I’m healthy both in mind and body. I’ve decided to stand on the tatami (in Athens),” she said, adding she has recovered considerably from the severe swelling and internal bleeding in her heel and resumed training this month.

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