Day one: Britain finishes fifth & seventh at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Kimberley Renicks completed a 24,000 mile journey around the world and achieved a respectable fifth place finish on the first day of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Friday 22 November).

The -48kg judoka had struck gold at the Apia Open of Oceania in Samoa last Friday and secured silver in Mauritius the previous Saturday, before she arrived in the United Arab Emirates.

Renicks was the first British judoka in action on Friday morning and she safely sailed through her first round with a yuko win over Rajni Bala of India.

She then threw Qingdao Grand Prix gold medallist Amelie Roesseneu of Belgium for yuko in the -48kg quarter-final which went to golden score.

Renicks then lost out to Alesya Kuznetsova of Russia who held her down for ippon in the semi-final.

This sent her into the repechage where she fought for bronze against Valentina Moscatt of Italy.

However, she had to settle for fifth place after being penalised for hansoku-make and the ippon and medal went to the Italian.

Lead women’s coach Kate Howey said: “Kim fought very well today. In gaining her fifth place she beat the strong Belgian who is ranked number 12 in the world. She did this after coming back from an injury so this is a good performance at the end of three weeks of continuous competition.”

Another injured Brit making her comeback, Olympian Gemma Howell, (-63kg) pinned down Garima Chaudhary of India in her first round to progress.

But in the second match Howell was thrown for ippon by world silver medallist Clarisse Agbegnenou of France.

Renicks and Howell were two of nine Brits in action today and in addition to Renicks’ placing, Great Britain also achieved three seventh place finishes among some extremely tough draws.

Connie Ramsay (-57kg) held down Suchika Tariyal of India for ippon to win a place in the quarter-final.

However, Ramsay was then thrown for waza-ari and held down for ippon by Miryam Roper.

She then lost by a waza-ari to Tatiana Noskova of Russia in the -57kg repechage, accepting seventh place overall.

Patrick Dawson also placed seventh after losing to the -66kg Olympic silver medallist Miklos Ungvari, a competitor who has recently stepped up to -73kg.

The Hungarian gripped the Brit in a strangle for ippon during the -73kg repechage. He reached this stage after Christopher Voelk countered him for ippon in the previous round.

However his earlier victory over Rustam Orujov of Azerbaijan – a match he won by waza-ari and hold down for ippon, secured him seventh place.

Meanwhile, Nathon Burns (-66kg) was the third and final judoka to finish seventh after Alim Gadanov of Russia beat him by waza-ari in the -66kg repechage contest.

His journey to this point began with a first round victory over Islam Baialinov of Kyrgyzstan and he won by three shidos to one.

He then beat Batgeral Battsetseg of Mongolia by yuko during a golden score period.

Men’s lead coach Chris Bowles said: “Nathon Burns had a fantastic day after reaching the quarter-finals and finishing in a credible seventh place among world class company.”

There were also some early exits.

In particular, one of GB’s medal favourites, Colin Oates (-66kg) suffered a first round defeat at the hands of Mongolian Altansukh Dovdon after being given a late shido.

Olympian Danny Williams (-73kg) lost his first round bout to Denis Artcev of Russia after submitting to armlock for ippon.

Faith Pitman (-63kg) suffered a narrow defeat in her first round on shidos against Anicka Van Emden of the Netherlands, a judoka ranked number three in the world.

And Louise Renicks-(52kg) exited early after Meriem Moussa of Algeria scored ippon in the first round.

Tomorrow, Saturday 23 November 2013, more GB Judoka will be in action at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Action begins at 07:00 GMT (11:00 U.A.E Local time)

Women: -70kg, -78kg, +78 kg
Sally Conway (-70kg), Megan Fletcher (-70kg), Natalie Powell (-78kg) and Sarah Adlington (+78kg)

Men: -81kg, -90kg, -100kg, +100kg
Tom Reed (-81kg), Matthew Purssey (-90kg) James Austin (-100kg) and Ben Fletcher (-100kg)

Photos courtesy of IJF.
Words by Donna Richardson