40 GB athletes were in action on the mat across the weekend at the Saarbrucken European Cup in Germany and the Paks Junior European Open in Hungary.
Kelly Staddon (-48kg) began the weekend in perfect style for the squad as she claimed her first senior European Cup title in an impressive day of judo for the 22 year old. After breezing through her first two contests with victories via ippon without conceding a single score. She came up against Shirine Boukli (FRA) in the final and this would prove to be her closest contest of the day as two waza-ari scores was enough to seal the title.
Lubjana Piovesana continued her impressive form in the -63kg category with another bronze medal. The Junior World No.1 at the weight category has scooped a host of medals recently with Grand Prix medals in amongst those. She began with a swift first round victory against Ymke Van den Burgh (NL) before losing her second round contest against World No.31 Hannah Martin (USA) by a single waza-ari. This dropped Piovesana down in the repechage where she came up against Jennifer Schwille (GER). In another exciting contest, she was able to control the contest, keeping Schwille scoreless throughout whilst scoring with a waza-ari and ippon finish to progress through to the bronze medal contest. Piovesana would end the contest early to secure the medal and with it, her third bronze medal of the year.
Gemma Howell (-70kg) and Kelly Edwards (-52kg) are both currently preparing for the World Championships in Bucharest in August and both came away with bronze medals. Howell’s first contest against Sukran Bakacak (TUR) went to golden score and both fighters having two shidos against their name, it was Howell that was able to score the vital waza-ari to progress. She came up against African Champion Niang Assmaa in the 2nd round, and Niang had too much experience for Howell as she picked up three shidos to drop her into the repechage. Impressive victories against the likes of Ekaterina Tokareva (RUS) and Jenny Werner (GER) gave her the chance to fight for bronze against Swiss Alina Lengweiler. Howell dominated the contest as she was able to score two waza-aris to hand her the medal.
Edwards used her experience to progress through the day as comfortable victories in her opening contests saw her move into the semi final without a single score against her. She came up against Gliya Sagitova (RUS) in the semi finals and in a contest that ran into four minutes of golden score following a waza-ari each in regulation time, it was the Russian who was able to get the score required to progress to the final. Edwards however, was able to end the bronze medal contest after just 25 seconds with an impressive ippon finish.
Other notable finishes in Saarbrucken saw Jonathan Dewar (-66kg) and Valentino Volante (-100kg) finish in 9th place along with a 7th placed finish for Sally Moon (-78kg) and Kimberley Renicks (-52kg) and a 9th place for Lanina Solley (-52kg).
Paks Junior European Cup (HUN)
A productive day on the mat for the Junior squad in Hungary saw all female athletes making it to the fi
nal block over the weekend. Olivia Piechota (-52kg) secured a bronze medal on the opening day of the competition. She breezed through her opening round against Eszter Hajdu (HUN) as she filled the stats sheet with three waza-aris to secure the ippon finish. She ran into Italian Annarita Campese in the second round through and lost in golden score. She recovered well though as she defeared Taeya Koliaska (CAN) and Andrea Karman (HUN) to set up a bronze medal contest against Italian Martina Scisciola (ITA) in the final block. Good contest management from the 19 year old saw her claim the medal with a waza-ari score.
Elsewhere in the squad, Acelya Toprak (-57kg), Shelley Ludford (-70kg) and Lele Nairne (-57kg) all secured 5th placed finishes and Stephanie Walker (-57kg) claimed 7th place.
The powerful Jamal Petgrave (-90kg) continued his development at junior level with another bronze medal in Hungary. A dominant performance in the opening round saw him brush aside Moldova’s Alexandr Casap before he came unstuck against Grigor Sahakyan (ARM) in the 2nd round. He was able to turn things around well though in the second half of the day however with a solid performance in the repechage as he claimed wins against Artem Suvorov (RUS) and Sofiane Ait Mohamed Amer (FRA) set up the bronze medal contest against Lazar Cupic (MON). He was able to win the contest with just over a minute gone as he threw Cupic for ippon.
Daniel Powell (-73kg) claimed his second successive bronze medal as he won five out of six contests on a busy day for the 19 year old. Following up on his St Petersburg bronze won in April, he began the day perfectly with three waza-aris in his opening contest. A close defeat in golden score to Schamil Dzavbatyrov (GER) dropped Powell into the repechage, but in his next four contests, he kept every single one of his opponents scoreless as he took home the bronze medal.
Other notable results for the male squad included a fifth place finish for Wesley Greenidge in the +100kg category and a 7th placed finish for the developing Eric Ham in the -73kg.