The first Visually Impaired Judo Grand Prix to be held in Great Britain began today in Walsall on Saturday 4 June.
With the British Paralympic judoka for Rio 2016 set to compete tomorrow, today was the turn of Natalie Greenhough (-70kg), Connah Anders (-73kg), Cameron Bradley (-66kg) and Stephen Lee (-66kg). Natalie Greenhough produced the stand-out British performance of the day, scoring yuko against Lucija Breskovic of Croatia. Although the Croatian judoka took the eventual win, Greenhough showed courage and determination to take the contest right to the wire and push her opponent all the way.
There was strong international talent on display with champions from Romania, Russia, Brazil, Germany, France and Belarus.
Alana Martins Maldonado (BRA) swept away the competition in the -70kg category, defeating three of her four opponents by ippon on her way to gold. Silver was taken by Olga Zabrodskaia (RUS), with bronze medals going the way of Tatiana Savostianova (RUS) and Lucija Breskovic (CRO).
In the +70kg category, the two competitors fought in a best of three format, with Arina Kachan (BLR) taking the win in each of the three contests over Christella Garcia (USA) and the gold medal.
In the -60kg category, Alexandru Bologa (ROU), took the gold medal after a long battle with Lee (KOR) who was forced to settle for silver. Justin Karn of Canada and Anuar Sariyev of Kazakhstan claimed the silver medals.
It was an all-Russian affair in the -66kg final, with compatriots Vitalii Koriakin and Vasilii Kutuev going for gold. It was Koriakin who eventually took the gold, with silver going to Vasilii and bronze medals for Marcos Falcon Tovar (VEN) and Jongseok Park (KOR).
In the -73kg there was further Russian involvement, with Yurii Dallakian facing German judoka Nikolai Kornhass in the final. It was the German who came out on top, defeating Dallakian by ippon two minutes into the contest. Viktor Rudenko (RUS) and Alvaro Gavilan Lorenzo (ESP) claimed the bronze medals.
The -81kg final was the last contest of the day, with France’s Cyril Jonard and Argentina’s Jose David Effron going for gold. The medal went to Jonard after he threw Effron for ippon. Bronze medals went to Sebastian Junk (GER) and Shamil Magomedov (RUS).
Tomorrow will see action from the -90kg, -100kg, +100kg, -48kg, -52kg, -57kg and -63kg categories.
Two-time Paralympic medallist, Sam Ingram will be in action in the -90kg category, alongside fellow Rio 2016 Paralympians Chris Skelley (-100kg) and Jack Hodgson (+100kg).
Follow the action with @BritishJudo on twitter and stay tuned on the British Judo Facebook page for live streams during the final block!
Madrid European Open
Bekky Livesey claimed her first senior continental open medal as she won -57kg bronze on the opening day of the Madrid European Open.
Livesey racked up a cricket score in her first content with ippon, waza-ari and two yukos. She also had to come through a lung-bursting quarter-final with Carla Grol (NED) as she threw the Dutch judoka for yuko 40 seconds into golden score.
Another yuko proved the difference in the bronze medal match over Emily Dotzler (GER) while there was also a fifth place for Lucy Renshall (-63kg).
Six more British judoka will be in action on Sunday 5 June starting from 0900 GMT with live coverage via eju.net and ippon.org