Camberley’s Ashley McKenzie (-60kg) finished in a career high of 7th on the opening day of the Judo Masters in Qingdao, China.
Drawn in Pool D, McKenzie defeated David Pulkrabek (CZE) in the opening round after the Czech player amassed 3 penalty shido’s. In the second round McKenzie defeated Diyorbek Urozboev (UZB), the current Olympic bronze medallist and former World Championship bronze medallist to set up a quarter final match against Francisco Garrigos (ESP), a former World Junior Champion and 2017 Masters silver medallist. Unfortunately, McKenzie was outgripped by the experienced Spaniard and amassed 3 penalty shido’s, meaning Garrigos progressed to the semi-final and eventually the final where he won silver.
In the Repechage McKenzie faced the 5th placed player from the 2019 World Championships Gusman Kyrgyzbayev (KAZ) with the fight nearing Golden Score McKenzie summoned one final attack only to be countered in the closing seconds and miss out on a place in the bronze medal match and finish 7th.
Following his performance McKenzie said: ‘I feel that with this performance only six months from the Games it shows that I am capable of mixing it with the best. The result today is my best Masters result but more importantly it is qualification points for Tokyo.’
Elsewhere on day 1, Chelsie Giles (-52kg) gave a mature performance in her opening round match against Liping Liu (CHN) she waited for her opponent to make a mistake and then countered with a newaza for ippon.
In the second round Giles faced current world number 1 Amandine Buchard (FRA), with nothing between the two players the match entered Golden Score. Buchard was clearly frustrated and when Giles came close to throwing her, she was caught for waza-ari.
Buchard eventually progressed to win silver.
Friday sees 6 British Judoka in action with the women’s -63kg and -70kg categories set to compete.
Lucy Renshall (-63kg) has been drawn in Pool B and will face Katharina Haecker (AUS) in the 2nd round. The pair last met back in 2016 at the Budapest Grand Prix where Haecker was victorious.
Lulu Piovesana (-63kg), drawn in Pool C, will face the Pan-American Championship silver medallist and current world number 7 Maylin Del Toro Carvajal (CUB) in the 2nd round.
Alice Schlesinger (-63kg) will face the current Olympic Champion and former World Champion Tina Trstenjak (SLO) in the 2nd round match in Pool D. The pair last met in 2018 at the European Championships where Trstenjak took the victory.
Gemma Howell (-70kg) had been drawn in Pool B and will face world number 4 Maria Portela (BRA). Portela is a former Masters Champion, claiming the title back in 2017. Howell last faced Portela at the Budapest Grand Prix earlier this year and defeated the Brazilian in the semi-final before progressing to win gold.
Sally Conway (-70kg) will face Kim Polling (NED) in her 2nd round match in Pool D. The pair have met on five previous occasions with the Dutch player currently leading the battle with three victories to Conway’s two. The pair last met in the final of the European Championships in 2018 where Conway had to settle for silver as Polling was crowned Champion for the fourth time in her career.
Preliminary rounds are due to start at 02:30am on Friday with Final Block scheduled to start at 09:00am GMT.
British Judo will bring you a recap of how all your British Judoka perform in the Preliminary rounds each morning on the British Judo social media channels. Unfortunately there is no host broadcast of the Preliminary rounds but you can watch live action from Final Bock from 09:00am on the British Judo homepage.