British youngster joins Olympic champion on medal podium on return to action

British youngster Rebecca Telfer joined Olympic champion Idalys Ortiz on the medal podium as she took +78kg bronze on her return to action at the Belgium Open for women in Arlon.

Telfer, 21, a former European Cadets Championship bronze medallist, had taken a sabbatical from the sport while studying at Bristol University.

Telfer progressed through the early rounds which saw her reach the semi-final and face the highest profile contest of her career on her return to competition as she stood opposite Cuba’s London 2012 Olympic champion Idalys Ortiz for a place in the final.

Ortiz, who won the highly-regarded Belgian competition last year, was forced to step up her work rate against the gusty Briton and eventually threw her younger foe for ippon.

Telfer bounced back to win an impressive bronze medal. 

The Leicester-born judoka said: “I enjoy fighting at Arlon as the competition is always very strong and this year was no exception.

“As my first tournament back I was apprehensive as you don’t quite know where you are but fighting the Cuban Olympic champion Ortiz was great for my confidence as she is a tough competitor.

“The tournament was satisfying on a lot of levels and the team spirit among the british girls team was good, I’m looking forward to the future.”

SKK Judo Club pair Amy Livesey and Jodie Myers, who both won gold at the 2013 Junior British Championships, both took bronze in the Belgium Junior Open.

Amy Livesey, who had nine fights over the weekend after fighting in the senior event on Sunday, took bronze in the -70kg category while Jodie Myers clinched the same colour medal in the +78kg category.

British Judo’s Junior Player of the Year Nekoda Davis had eight fights over the two days and lost out in the senior -57kg competition to London 2012 Olympian Sophie Cox who avenged her 2013 British Championships defeat by registering a yuko in golden score.

Cox had seven fights on Sunday and narrowly missed out on a bronze medal after tasting defeat against Switzerland’s Larissa Csatari to finish in fifth-place while 2013 British Championship silver medallist Caroline Kinnane finished in the same position in the -78kg category.

The Belgium Open for men in Vise attracted a world-class field as Cuba’s London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Asley Gonzalez was unceremoniously dispatched in the preliminary rounds.

While Gonzalez faltered, 2013 British Champion Ben Fletcher excelled as he emerged from a very competitive category to take silver after crowd favourite Toma Nikiforov caught him with an emphatic uchi-mata in the -100kg final.

Former Junior European silver medallist Max Stewart was defeated by France’s eventual -81kg gold medallist Guillaume Riou.

British Judo’s Paralympic Performance Coach Jean-Paul Bell said: “Ben fought well all day; he showed a great variety of techniques and scores as well as solid tactics and determination.

“Asley Gonzalez’s defeat in the early rounds indicated how strong the competition was.”

Meanwhile the first European Open’s (formerly World Cup) took place in Tbilisi, Georgia and Sofia, Bulgaria.

The IJF’s proposed new rules, which are also being tested by the EJU, were in effect for the first time.

At the European Open of Tbilisi for men Andy Burns come to the fore as he won two contests before being edged out in the preliminary round and losing in the repechage to finish in seventh-place.