Conway with a top seven finish at Baku European Games

The second day of the 2015 Baku European Games brought important qualification points and a seventh place to our team. Five British judoka amongst four weight categories were in the running for placings today. 

Bright and early, Owen Livesey began the day in the -81kg category with a breath-taking left sided drop seoi-nage against World silver medalist Srdjan Mrvaljevic (MNE). In his second round, Livesey was challenged by Croatian Grand Prix silver medalist (2013), Carlos LUZ (POR) who managed to throw the Briton for waza-ari and a yuko to progress to the next round. 
Owen Livesey said: “I have been training really had for this, I knew it would be a tough tournament and I gave it my all. Every tournament I go to I aim to win obviously, but like I said this was a tough one.”
Both, Alice Schlesinger and Gemma Howell took the first round well in the -63kg category. Schlesinger defeated Anna Bernholm (SWE), whilst Howell overcame Hilde Drexler (AUT). However, both British fighters lost out in the second round of the tournament. Ana Cachola (POR) moved to the quarter finals over Schlesinger and progressed to the medal contests. It was the recent Budapest Grand Prix bronze medalist (2015), Mia Hermnasson (SWE) who took the chance away from Howell on going any further. 
Alice Schlesinger said: “This was my first European Championships after a two year gap. I didn’t have a huge target this morning, I wanted to do my best. I don’t think I was as fast as I am normally, we just have to look back and see what went wrong and work on it. Of course, I am quiet disappointed, but I think preparation is good for the Worlds and hopefully it will go well.”
In the -70kg category, it was an early end of the day for 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games winner Megan Fletcher who lost out against Katarzyna Klys (POL). The Polish fighter then fought her way into the final block. 
Megan Fletcher siad: “I fought well but I got caught and that is how it works in judo. It is frustrating because you are training all the time leading up to this event and that is it, its done. I felt good on the mat, it is just judo. The same pool sheet on a different day could be with a completely different ending.”
2015 Baku Grand Slam winner, Sally Conway defeated her first opponent, Aleksandra Samardzic (BIH) by ippon. The next step was to beat 2014 Astana Grand Prix silver medalist, Esther Stam (GEO), which Conway managed outstandingly. Szaundra Diedrich (GER) was in good form and came out the eventual winner in the quarter-finals, which saw Conway head into the repechage contest. Here Conway came up against the young Hungarian judoka, Gercsak, who defeated the British fighter. Conway was left to settle for 7th place. 
Sally Conway said: “I never fought the Hungarian girl before, only in training, and I was hoping to beat her. I believed I can and I still believe I can, but today just wasn’t working for me.”
“There is still plenty of competition left to collect points and qualify for Rio [2016 Olympic Games]. I am in a good position at the moment and I just want to carry that on and do my best at whatever tournament I attend.”.
Tomorrow sees the final day of competition for the British team, with action in the -90kg, -100kg, -78kg and +78kg.
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