Lucy Renshall won her first Grand Slam medal as she took home silver in Abu Dhabi on Friday 27 October. This was GB Judo’s second medal of the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam after Nekoda Davis’s -57kg bronze on Friday.
The St Helens judoka took on Italy’s Edwige Gwend in the -63kg final and it was a good, tactical contest. Both judoka had moments where they came close to scoring but in regular time it was shidos that made an appearance on the scoreboard.
With both fighters on a shido each going into golden score, Renshall’s fourth golden score contest of the day, it was a case of both fighters looking to get ahead on attacks.
Golden score was another even affair but after two minutes Renshall was forced into a defensive position by Gwend and picked up a second shido for false attack.
With 700 world ranking points on offer for Grand Slam silver, Renshall could well be in the World Top 10 at -63kg by the start of next week.
Speaking afterwards Renshall said:
“My first two fights were not good and I didn’t feel comfortable but the semi final and final I lifted my game and I was pleased with those two fights.
“I was ill last week, so coming away with my first grand slam medal is good and hopefully the points earned here will get me to the World Masters in St Petersburg at the end of the year.”
The 21 year old started her day against Nadja Bazynski (GER) and an even contest went to golden score with both judoka picking up two shidos in regular time.
Renshall made short work of her opponent in golden score as she took advantage on the ground to apply a strangle and forced Bazynski to tap.
Russia’s Valentina Kostenko was next up in the quarter-final and once against the contest went into golden score. Kostenko had picked up a shido in regular time and was lucky to not concede another in golden score as Renshall put the pressure on.
After almost three minutes of golden score the British judoka threw Kostenko for waza-ari to secure her place in the semi-final.
2017 World Championship bronze medallist Agata Ozdoba (POL) had beaten some of the best players in the world over the last two months but Renshall controlled their contest brilliantly.
The Polish judoka was forced into an early shido for defensive gripping with Renshall then showing good defence to hold off Ozdoba as she went on the attack.
Renshall responded well and forced Ozdoba to pick up two shidos in the final minute as she controlled the gripping in a strong tactical performance.
Jamie Johnson, GB Elite Performance Coach – Senior Programme said:
“Her first two fights were not up to her usual standards. She looked slow and sluggish, her newaza transition is usually sharp but didn’t happen today.
“Her gripping was decent and she did step up for her semi final against the world bronze medallist and the final was very close and could have gone either way.
“After being ill and not fighting her best today it does show the level that Lucy is at. After being injured she has shown good consistency, medalling in her last three competitions.”
Amy Livesey and Gemma Howell were also in action today at -63kg and -70kg respectively. Livesey took on Israel’s Rotem Shor and the British judoka wasn’t able to get into the contest and soon picked up three shidos to exit in the second round.
Howell was fighting in her first Grand Slam at the heavier weight and she faced Hungary’s Sabina Gercsak. Howell controlled the contest well and but wasn’t able to get a decisive score in regular time. The Hungarian appeared to flag two minutes into golden score but she threw in one final strong attack which forced Howell into picking up a shido for false attack.
Saturday 28 October is the third and final day of competition with Natalie Powell (-78kg) looking to keep the pressure on World No.1 Mayra Aguiar (BRA). Sarah Adlington (+78kg) was due to fight as well however has had to withdraw due to unforeseen circumstances.
Competition starts at 0900 UK Time with live coverage via britishjudo.org.uk and you can follow all of the action live on @BritishJudo on Twitter.