Alice Schlesinger returned to the Dusseldorf Grand Prix and claimed the -63kg silver medal with a good display of attacking judo. Sally Conway was also in good form, picking up a fifth place.
Last year, Schlesinger marked her return to judo with a gold medal at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix. This year, Schlesinger cemented her place amongst the world’s best, claiming the silver medal, only losing to reigning World Champion Tina Trstenjak in the final.
With a first round bye, Schlesinger’s day started out with a solid win against Taylor King of Luxembourg, throwing the 24 year old for ippon after just over a minute and a half.
Spaniard, Isobel Puche, was Schlesinger’s next opponent, but she was no match for the in-form Brit who took the contest after forcing Puche to tap out from Schlesinger’s arm lock.
More attacking judo was on show in the quarter-final, when Schlesinger threw Austrian Magdalena Krssakova twice for waza-ari. This set-up a much anticipated semi-final against Yarden Gerbi (ISR).
This was the second time the pair had met since Schlesinger made the switch to compete for Great Britain and it was the second time that the Brit had taken the win. After scoring a yuko, Schlesinger capitalised on an opportunity on the ground to get the juji-gatame arm lock and force the submission.
In the final, Schlesinger came up against current World Champion Tina Trstenjak (SLO). Schlesinger was held down by Trstenjak who claimed the gold medal.
Speaking on the performance, Schlesinger said: “I am happy to reach the final as I couldn’t compete in Paris because of illness. This is the second year in a row that I have made the final but unfortunately it was not gold this year. I am really pleased that I won some fights in newaza as I have been working on this.”
Lead Performance Coach, Kate Howey MBE added: “Alice fought well today throwing big, but more importantly winning fights with arm locks and using ground work, which has been one of her targets for the last year. The medal is great but today it was more about the points that come with it as she is pushing to get a seeding for the games.”
Sally Conway also enjoyed a good day on the tatami in Germany. The 29 year old British judoka was also showing some strong attacking judo from the outset, throwing Chao Zhou (CHN) for ippon with a well-executed foot sweep.
Moving through to the quarter-final after defeating Natascha Ausma (NED) with an arm lock, Conway came up against Bernadette Graf (AUT). A yuko down, Conway got caught with a throw for ippon while attacking in the final stages of the contest. In repechage, Conway defeated Onix Cortes Aldama (CUB) with another display of good ground work, forcing the submission from the Cuban judoka.
In the bronze medal contest, Conway faced Laura Vargas Koch in front of her home crowd. The home judoka managed to defeat Conway who was forced into submission with a strangle hold.
Also in action in the -70kg, Megan Fletcher produced a good win in her first contest of the day against Antonia Moreira (ANG). However, Fletcher was unlucky to lose out to eventual silver medallist, Chizuru Arai (JPN) as the contest went into golden score. The Japanese judoka claimed the win, when Fletcher was awarded a shido in golden score.
Owen Livesey (-81kg) and Patrick Dawson (-73kg) were both unable to get through their first rounds.
Tomorrow, on the final day of the 2016 Dusseldorf Grand Prix, will see five British judoka in action in the men’s -90kg, -100kg and women’s -78kg and +78kg. Gary Hall and Frazer Chamberlain will both be in action in the -90kg category, whilst Ben Fletcher will be taking on the field in the -100kg category. Natalie Powell, fresh from her first Grand Slam medal in Paris two weeks ago, will be competing in the -78kg category, whilst Sarah Adlington will be in action in the +78kg category.