10 British Judoka in action at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam

The Tel Aviv Grand Slam gets underway tomorrow with 10 British Judo fighters in action over the course of the three-day competition at the Shlomo Arena.

British Judo have great history in Tel Aviv, last year both Sally Conway and Natalie Powell topped the podium, winning gold and this year promises to be equally as thrilling from a British Judo perspective.

With Olympic selection in the -63kg category still up for grabs, the 2019 European Junior Champion Kelly Petersen-Pollard making her Grand Slam debut and a number of British Judo fighters entering the Tel Aviv Grand Slam in seeded positions, it has the making of a competition you do not want to miss.

With Olympic qualification still in progress, fighters competing at the newly designated Grand Slam know a positive performance will strengthen their world ranking position and take them one step closer to securing their selection to the Tokyo Games later this year.

Thursday 18th

Ashley McKenzie (-60kg), who finished 5th at the Tel Aviv Grand Prix in 2019, starts as the number 2 seed and will be looking to build on his positive showing at the Doha Masters last month.

McKenzie will face former European U23 bronze medallist Karamat Huseynov (AZE) in the opening round.

2019 European Games bronze medallist Chelsie Giles (-52kg) is making her 3rd appearance at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam.

Giles faces the 2018 World Junior Champion Gefen Primo (ISR) in the opening round. The pair last met at the 2019 World Championships where Giles was victorious.

Friday 19th

Eric Ham (-73kg) will be making his 3rd Grand Slam appearance in Tel Aviv. Drawn in Pool A, Ham will face former Pan American Champion Eduardo Barbosa (BRA) in the opening round. The pair have met on one previous occasion, at the Montreal Grand Prix, where the Brazilian was victorious.

Stuart McWatt (-81kg) starts his 2021 season where his 2020 season ended. McWatt’s career high finish at a Grand Slam event came in 2017 when he finished 7th in Dusseldorf.

Drawn in Pool C, McWatt has an opening round bye and will face Iura Sveinbjorg (ISL) in the second round.

In the -63kg category, 300 world ranking points current separate Amy Livesey and Lucy Renshall in the current world rankings.

Livesey and Renshall enter Tel Aviv seeded 6th and 8th respectively. Livesey has an opening round bye and will await the victor of the opening round match between Stefania-Adelina Dobre (ROU) and Iolanta Berdybekova (KAZ).

Meanwhile, Renshall will face Isabel Puche (ESP) in her opening round match. Renshall has faced the experienced Spaniard on four previous occasions, winning the last three encounters.

Gemma Howell (-70kg) competes in Tel Aviv a little over 12 months to the day that she claimed bronze at the Paris Grand Slam.

Howell is seeded 7th and faces former World Junior Champion Szabina Gercsak (HUN) in the opening round. The pair have met on two previous occasions, both back in 2017, with the score equal at one victory each.

2019 European Junior Champion, Kelly Petersen-Pollard (-70kg), makes her Grand Slam debut in Tel Aviv. Petersen-Pollard made her senior debut at the Odivelas European Open last year where she won gold.

Petersen-Pollard, drawn in Pool A, faces former European U23 Championships bronze medallist Minel Akdeniz (TUR) in the opening round. The Turkish fighter is making her debut in the -70kg category after previously competing in the -63kg category.

Saturday 20th

Max Stewart (-90kg), who last competed in Perth in 2019, makes a welcome return competition facing former World Junior silver medallist Robert Florentino (DOM) in the second round, following an opening round bye.

Sarah Adlington (+78kg) will be making her 25th Grand Slam appearance in Tel Aviv. Seeded 7th, Adlington has an opening round bye and will face either Anzhela Gasparani (RUS) or Samira Bouizgarne (GER) in the second round.

Action on Thursday starts at 7:30am (GMT) and 8:30am (GMT) on Friday and Saturday.

Final Block is scheduled to commence at 15:00 (GMT) on all three competition days.

 British Judo will bring you a recap of how all your British fighters perform each day and you can follow the action on the British Judo social media channels. You can also watch the action live on the British Judo homepage.