Amy Livesey won her third career Grand Prix medal at the expense of fellow Brit Lubjana Piovesana on the second day of competition at the Cancun Grand Prix in Mexico.
It was a battle of the Brits in the -63kg Bronze medal contest as Piovesana and Livesey’s paths met once again in the hunt for Grand Prix medals. In their previous outing back at the Antalya Grand Prix last year, Piovesana got the better of Livesey who was keen to avenge the defeat and earn her place on the podium. The pair enjoy competing in Cancun with Livesey claiming Silver last year at the same venue and Piovesana winning Bronze.
It was a tense Bronze medal contest with both fighters training together on a regular basis. This let to a contest that saw very little successful attacking from the pair, as each athlete would read what the other was preparing. It was Livesey that would secure the vital waza-ari to win the contest. She did an excellent job of nullifying Piovesana’s attacks and keeping her at arm’s length whilst avoiding being dragged to the mat, which had seen the demise of so many opponents of Piovesana’s in the past.
Livesey started the day with a hard fought victory over Spain’s Estefania Garcia courtesy of two waza-aris.
Poland’s Agata Ozdoba-Blach awaited Livesey in the Second Round and it was a quiet and cautious start from both judoka. It was a dramatic contest that looked like it was heading to Golden Score until Livesey spotted an opportunity on Ozdoba-Blach and drove with her legs to register an unanswered waza-ari with just 12 seconds remaining on the clock.
A Quarter Final match up against Canada’s Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard lay in wait for Livesey. The World No.18 is an experienced athlete with a multitude of Grand Prix medals to her name. She could not find a way past the Canadian though as Beauchemin-Pinard secured the take down on Livesey to register waza-ari before holding her down on the mat to drop the Brit into the Repechage.
Former British athlete Prisca Awiti-Alcaraz, now competing for Mexico, was no match for Livesey in the repechage as two waza-ari accounted for Awiti-Alcaraz to set up the mouth-watering all-Brit contest.
Piovesana had an impressive day on the mat with a number of notable victories earned against high class opponents. Austria’s World No.11 Kathrin Unterwurzacher awaited Piovesana in the opening round of the day. The Austrian had competed little in the past 12 months and the Brit took full advantage as she registered an early waza-ari. She spotted an opening later in the contest to finish via ippon on the mat following excellent newaza.
America’s Alisha Galles proved no match for Piovesana’s strength as the British judoka grew in confidence and was able to express herself in this particular contest. Brute force from Piovesana with a huge ura-nage on Galles ended the contest.
Alexia Castilhos from Brazil looked a tricky opposition in the Quarter Finals, and with three bronze medals in her three previous competitions, Piovesana would need to be at her best. She often opted for attempted seoi-nages throughout the contest but Castilhos became wise to the move. Pure power from Piovesana was on display once again as she bullied her way to a waza-ari before ended the contest minutes later via waza-ari-awasete-ippon.
An interesting Semi Final contest against Austria’s Magdalena Krssakova stood in the way of Final and a potential Gold medal. The Austrian is the World No.12 but Piovesana had brushed aside higher ranked opponents all day. She scored with an early waza-ari and looked to be heading into the Final before Krssakova promptly responded with her own. It headed into Golden Score with the score card level before the Brit was caught with an ouchi-gari to drop her into the Bronze medal contest.
Eric Ham (-73kg) registered a good opening round win against France’s Pierre Duprat before being eliminated in the second round. It was a tight opening contest with a single waza-ari the different between the fighters. He could not find a way past Hungary’s Frigyes Szabo in the 2nd round though, going out to a single waza-ari.
Danny Williams (-73kg) started his opening round contest strongly against Hungary’s World No.25 Miklos Ungvari. Williams can count himself unlucky with a couple of refereeing decisions that went against him as he was eliminated at the opening stage. The Hungarian arguably should have been called for a number of shidos which were not awarded. A tiring Williams was then caught by Ungvari to end the contest in Golden Score.