Bronze to Gold?

All hopes are on GB athletes turning last weekend’s bronze medals to silver or gold as the senior women and men’s teams head out to Portugal and Estonia respectively.

Great Britain will be sending a team of six women to the 2013 European Open in Lisbon, Portugal, between Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June 2013.

Fresh from her bronze victory and first ever medal at a senior open last weekend in Madrid, Nekoda Davis (-57kg) will be hoping to match or improve her result. She is joined by fellow Madrid bronze medallist Kimberley Renicks (-48kg) and Connie Ramsay (-57kg) who Davis defeated in the bronze medal contest at the Madrid Open.

GB Lead coach for the women Kate Howey said she was hoping for all her ladies to improve on their performances in part two of a four week block for the girls. They made a good start after Kate’s appointment to head of the women’s GB squad.

“Obviously it is a continuation of duties as Lead Coach of the GB Women’s squad and so it is nothing new to me, but it was nice to start the new cycle with a batch of medals from my team. At these European Opens points scoring is crucial and last week Nekoda fought really well and beat a few players who had ranked highly.

“It was her first medal as a senior in a European Open and it was the right level of competition for her progression. Nekoda went up 30 ranking points in the world ranking after her bronze performance.

“Connie fought well but lost in an all-brit fight against Nekoda. Kimberley also performed well after her disappointment at the last European Opens.”

Other contenders include Kelly Edwards (-52kg), Caroline Kinnane (-78kg) and Faith Pitman (-63kg).

Following this competition, both the women and men’s teams will compete in Miami and San Salvador. The aim over this four week block is to score as many ranking points as they can, said Kate. She is looking forward to the World Championships next.

Meanwhile, an 11-strong team of men will fly out to the 2013 European Open in Tallinn, Estonia.

Nathon Burns (-66kg), who took bronze in the European Open in Bucharest, Romania last weekend is joined by fellow Bucharest alumni, Gregg Varey (-60KG), Jan Gosiewski (-73kg), Michael Horley (-90kg) and Ben Fletcher (-100kg) who placed fifth plus Philip Awiti-Alcaraz -100kg and Royal Marine Chris Sherrington (+100kg) who placed 7th in Bucharest.

Patrick Dawson (-73kg), Danny Williams (-73kg) and Tom Reed (-81kg) will also be hoping to medal at the event.

Chris Bowles the newly-appointed men’s coach, said: “Taking the team away so close into the job was a great experience. Of course we still have some work to do and it is an uphill battle to get a team to Rio. From here on in, we will need to concentrate to win world ranking points. To do that the lads need to train hard and stay focused. Credit to Nathon Burns for getting a bronze medal but also well done to the other lads too. I was proud to have two of my boys in the semi-final (Ben Fletcher and Phillip Awiti-Alcaraz).”

Looking ahead to the weekend he is confident GB will up its medal tally: “I have a feeling that this weekend we will clinch a few more medals. We have largely the same team being put forward and on balance that is good because we are starting to form a relationship and team spirit. A few good results will move the players up and we are starting to integrate some of the younger players into the team. It is a really exciting time – watch this space!”

Words by Donna Richardson
Photo courtesy of EJU