Britain’s Jan Gosiewski secured the biggest the result of his career on Saturday as he won bronze at the Warsaw European Open.
Gosiewski, 24, of Team Bath, who once lived and trained in Gdansk on the Baltic coast, self-funded his participation to compete in a strong -73kg field.
The two-time European Cup medallist opened his day with a resounding victory over Israel’s Vadim Guschin who was forced to submit to a beautifully executed sankaku-jime.
Despite there being 45 judoka in the category there was an air of inevitability when Gosiewski moved on to face Team Bath colleague and training partner Emmanuel Nartey.
The pair train together every day and their respect of each other’s ability saw an even contest end in favour of Gosiewski as Ghana’s London 2012 Olympian Nartey had received two shidos.
Gosiewski advanced to face France’s former GB World Cup winner Guillaume Chaine in the quarter-final.
The British Championship bronze medallist edged the Frenchman by a yuko to take his place in the semi-final against Georgia’s former Junior world bronze medallist Zebeda Rekhviashvili.
There was nothing to separate the pair and with golden score only seconds away Gosiewski conceded a third shido, crucially one more than the Georgian, and reverted to the repechage.
Gosiewski squared off against Kazahkstan’s Bekzat Manasbayev in the bronze medal contest and, with the Polish crowd firmly behind the Briton, he showed more positive judo to confidently move ahead with a yuko.
With Gosiewksi taking charge of the contest, Manasbayez lost his composure and received a hansoku-make for leg grabbing.
After stepping off the medal podium Gosiewski said: “I felt I could have been in the final but I am happy with how I fought.
“Every fight was really tough so I am glad I got a medal. It was the first time I competed with the new rules but felt I adapted well. The crowd really was excellent, it was great having their support.”
British Judo coach Darren Warner said: “Jan stuck to the tactics well and really worked hard. He utilised his strong ne-waza skills.
“It’s a tough competition, the Eastern European countries were here in big numbers and Jan can be very pleased with his result.”
Meanwhile at the Prague European Open for women, Kimberley Renicks and Megan Fletcher both finished in a creditable fifth-place.
Fletcher won three contests while Renicks won two. Fletcher lost the bronze medal contest to Barbara Bandel of Germany while Renicks missed out at the same stage with defeat against Ebru Sahin of Turkey.