In just over two weeks time, the Glasgow European Open will see judo return to the Emirates Arena.
The women only event, on Saturday 4th October 2014, has already attracted entries from 14 different countries.
It will be a chance to see competitors fighting for medals in Glasgow for the first time since the Commonwealth Games. The European Open Judo is a partnership between Glasgow Life, British Judo, Judo Scotland and Event Scotland.
Among the entries are four 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games champions, four silver and three bronze medallists, all from Great Britain. Competing against the strong British team will be players from around the globe including European, World and Olympic medalists. All in all there will be around 17 nations competing in the hope of taking medals and gaining valuable world ranking points for Rio 2016.
France is sending a large team and there will be representation from Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Luxemberg, Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, Italy, Romania, Switzerland, Hungary and Ireland, even as far afield as Ghana and the USA. Another feather in the cap will be Japan joining the long list of teams from across three continents.
Already Commonwealth medallists from Great Britain include Kelly Edwards (-52kg), Louise Renicks (-52kg), Nekoda Davis (-57kg), Connie Ramsay (-57kg), Steph Inglis (-57kg), Jemima Yeats-Brown (-63kg), Sally Conway (-70kg), Megan Fletcher (-70kg), Natalie Powell (-78kg), Sarah Adlington (+78kg) and Jodie Myers (+78kg) have confirmed entry.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist for Northern Ireland Lisa Kearney, fighting at -52kg, will return to Glasgow this time competing for the Republic of Ireland. Another big continental name is world bronze medallist Sanne Verhagen of the Netherlands competing in the -57kg category.
Camberley based Ghanaian Szandra Szogedi is also targeting a medal at this event, returning to the Scottish second city, following her disappointment at the Commonwealth Games.
Meanwhile, under 70kg Olympic silver medallist at London 2012 Keirsten Thiele of Germany will be in action, this time in the -78kg class.
There will also be a Japanese company of judoka competing at the tournament. A seven-strong team will be competing across every weight category; including Miri Toda (-48kg), Miki Watanabe (-52kg), Megumi Ishikawa (-57kg), Nozomi Hirari (-63kg), Haruka Yasumatsu (-70kg) Shori Hamada (-78kg) and Nodoka Shiraishi (+78kg).
Jemima Yeats-Brown, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, said “I think it would be great to fight against a Japanese fighter and see how I do against them. Obviously, you fight a lot of European players with all the European Cups going on, so to fight someone from Japan would be a great experience. When I was at the Commonwealth Games the crowd was amazing, it will be great to have their support for the GB team at the European Open.”
Ahead of the competition Lead Women’s Coach, Kate Howey, said: “I’m really looking forward to seeing many of our best women fighting in Glasgow. There is a mix of younger and more established players all trying to gain those valuable world ranking points for Rio and gain experience for Tokyo 2020, which seems far away but will come round quickly. As it’s in Glasgow I’m sure it will be another great event.”
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Megan Fletcher, can’t wait to return to Glasgow. “It is amazing how positively judo was received by the home crowd both during and following the Games. We had such a warm welcome by Glaswegians and it will be a fantastic opportunity to compete in front of the Glasgow crowd, especially since judo has been embraced in such a positive way since the Games. I can’t wait to go back to that welcoming crowd.”
The event will also be hosting ‘come and try judo’ sessions for beginners, a master class for current members and meet the team sessions, allowing much greater access to the players. The master class session is new for this year and will help to inspire the younger generation to pursue the sport and follow in the medallists’ footsteps. Many of the male 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games medalists will also be in attendance throughout the day.
There are still tickets available, visit glasgowopenjudo.com.