Chelsie Giles wins bronze on her Olympic debut to get Team GB off the mark in Tokyo

Chelsie Giles claimed Team GB’s first medal of the Tokyo Olympics with bronze in the women’s -52kg event.

Giles booked her place in the Final Block after victories over Arbresha Rexhepi (MKD) and Soumiya Iraoui (MAR) in the opening two rounds before a narrow defeat to eventual Olympic Champion Abe Uta (JPN) in the Quarter-Final.

In the Repechage Giles defeated Charline Van Snick (BEL) in Golden Score by a ko-uchi-gari to book her place in the bronze medal match to face Fabienne Kocher (SUI).

In the bronze medal contest, Giles scored a waza-ari at the half way point of the contest before following this up with a second waza-ari score to win the contest by waza-Ari-awasete-ippon.

“It feels so special to do it in Japan. I believed I could do it, my coach has always believed I could and it showed in today’s performance,” she said.

“I felt really good in the warm-up, and I was taking each fight as it came. It’s an amazing arena and the atmosphere was amazing. To do it where Japan started it, it makes it extra special.

“I never underestimate any of my fights, that’s where mistakes are made. I go into the fight knowing what they do, and knowing what I’m capable of doing. With my best performance, I know I can beat some of the top players and today showed that.”

The bronze medal for Giles means British Judo fighters have medalled at the last three Olympic Games, following the bronze medal won by Sally Conway at Rio 2016 and the silver and bronze medals claimed by Gemma Gibbons and Karina Bryant in London 2012.

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