Sporting world rocked by tragic death of 36-year-old world champ

Yahoo Sport
British judo legend Craig Fallon died aged 36.
Craig Fallon's death has rocked the sporting world. Pic: Getty

Tributes are being paid to former judo world champion Craig Fallon, following his death at the age of 36.

Fallon - who won the 60kg title at the World Championships in 2005 - passed away on Monday, less than five months into his tenure as head coach of the Welsh Judo Association (WJA).

British police confirmed a body had been found on a West Midlands hillside in the early hours of Monday.

"Knowing Craig from the age of 15, I can look back on our time working together with fond memories and fun times," said former coach Fitzroy Davis.

"At the pinnacle of his career, winning the World Championships in Cairo in 2005, he was one of the true greats of British judo.

"His dedication to the sport he loved will stay with me forever and I will cherish the time we spent together.

"Craig will be a huge loss to the sport, but I hope his achievements and his incredible story will inspire future generations to come."

News of Fallon's death has left the sporting world shocked and saddened.

Danny Williams, who competed at the London 2012 Olympics, heralded Fallon as ‘a brilliant judoka, a better human being’.

No British judo fighter has won a world title since Fallon triumphed in Cairo.

He also claimed the top prize at the 2006 European Championships and the 2007 World Cup.

He is one of only two British men - alongside Neil Adams - to be a world and European champion at the same time.

Fallon later competed at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, where he placed seventh, before retiring from the sport in 2011 to take up a coaching role.

After a spell in Austria, he was appointed head coach of the WJA in March.

Chief executive Darren Warner said: "Our heartfelt sympathies are with his family during this difficult time. He was only with the organisation for a short time but was a joy to work with and will be sorely missed."

Tributes have been pouring in for the former judo world champion.
Tributes have been pouring in for Craig Fallon after the 36-year-old's death. Pic: Getty

British Judo performance director Nigel Donohue also paid tribute, hailing Fallon as "an outstanding judo fighter".

He said: "It is with great shock to hear of the passing of Craig.

"Craig is a son and father, as well as an outstanding judo fighter of his generation in world judo."

He added that Fallon was "the most talented judoka I have ever had the pleasure to watch competing for Great Britain", and that he will be "greatly missed by his family and the judo world".

International Judo Federation president Marius Vizer expressed his sadness at Fallon’s passing.

Fallon leaves behind a partner and son.