Natalie Greenhough’s bronze medal got the 2017 IBSA European Judo Championships off to a good start for GB Judo on Friday 4 August in Walsall.

Greenhough (Crawley Judo Club) came through some toughs fights on the day to finish behind Russia’s Olga Zabrodskaia and Croatia’s Lucija Breskovic. This was the -70kg judoka’s first senior major championship medal.

Speaking afterwards EPC Academy Programme Denny Robert said:

“She’s been training hard. It’s great experience again to pick up that medal and hopefully that will and inspire her onto the next Games.”

Devizes Judo Club’s Evan Molloy impressed on his debut with a seventh place finish at -73kg. Molloy made a very impressive start defeating Sweden’s Oscar Widegreen. Molloy went ahead by three waza-ari with a mix of tachiwaza and newaza before finishing the contest with an ippon score via osaekomi.

In the quarter-final he took on 2016 Paralympic champion Ramil Gasimov and the Azerbaijani judoka was step up in class. Molloy looked to attack early but was countered well by his more experienced opponent for ippon. Georgia’s Ivane Bibilashvili was next up and once again Molloy went on the attack early. The Georgian judoka made a poor attack and Molloy took advantage with another win via osaekomi.

That win put Molloy into the repechage final against Ukraine’s Serhii Kotenko with the winner going into the bronze medal match. The World and European medallist was just too good though as he transitioned well into newaza and forced Molloy to tap out via juji-gatame.

Speaking straight after the fight, Molloy was pleased with his debut performance:

“I feel absolutely amazing because the fact that this is my first world ranking event, for it to be the European Championships, to get that placing I think is absolutely amazing.

“I think it’s been very valuable because we come into this competition with me thinking ‘At the end of the day all the top players they’ve got something to lose and I don’t.”

Connah Anders was also in action today but the -66kg judoka lost out in the first round to Magnos Nhanco of Portugal.

Tomorrow will be the turn of the heavyweight judoka with Elliot Stewart (-90kg), Chris Skelley (-100kg) and Jack Hodgson (+100kg) in action.

Stewart makes his IBSA European Championship debut and he will face Rio silver medallist Oleksandr Nazarenko (UKR). Chris Skelley has a bye and will face the winner of Oliver Upmann (GER) and Anatoli Shevchenko (UKR). Jack Hodgson has Germany’s Tulga Leonardo Demirel first up.

Competition starts at 1000 UK time tomorrow with live streaming via the British Judo Youtube Channel:

You can also follow the action through our Exclusive Live Blog and all of our British Judo social media accounts:

Twitter: @BritishJudo