English judoka topped the medal table at the 2017 Bahamas Commonwealth Youth Games on Tuesday 18 July.

In the inaugural judo competition at the Commonwealth Youth Games, England took home four gold medals and one bronze to finish ahead of rivals Australia, Scotland and India. Scotland also had a successful day with four medals, one gold, two silver and one bronze, while Northern Ireland took home two with a silver and bronze respectively.

Thomas Lish (middle) and Louis Saez (right) on the -90kg medal rostrum

Holly Bentham (-70kg) and Thomas Lish (-90kg) kicked things off with dominant performances in their respective weight categories. Both judoka won each of their contests by ippon and Lish was joined on the medal rostrum by Scotland’s Louis Saez, who picked up bronze.

Holly Bentham throws for ippon on her way to gold

“I’m really excited and proud to have claimed the first England medal of the Games.  Winning was an amazing feeling but despite the tough competition I’m pleased I came through.” said a delighted Lish.

Emily Ritchie (+70kg) was Scotland’s sole gold medallist and impressed in a strong weight. The Scottish judoka came through some tough fights including a hard-fought win over home judoka Karra Hanna. Northern Ireland’s Kirstie Strouts McCallion won silver and was selected as Team Northern Ireland’s flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony later that day!

 Emily Ritchie on the medal rostrum

Speaking afterwards to Team Scotland, Ritchie said: “That was amazing. The fact that it is the first Youth Games with my sport in it and that I am one of the first gold medallists in the event is an amazing feeling. It felt amazing stepping out on to the mat, representing the whole of Team Scotland.”

-48kg and -57kg saw England and Scotland fighting it out for gold. Current Junior British champion Sian Bobrowska got the better of Fiona Todman to take home -48kg gold. Bobrowska impressed during the day winning each of her contests by ippon. The -57kg final also went the way of England with Leah Grosvenor proving too good for Emma Forrest.

Emma Forrest in action at -57kg

Sian Bobrowska (W) takes on Fiona Todman (B) in the -48kg Final

At -73kg Lachlan Moorhead (ENG) and Matthew Elliott (NI) secured bronze medals. Moorhead had lost a close semi-final to Australia’s Uros Nikolic but responded well to defeat Tristen Vaai (SAM) for bronze. Matthew Elliot got the better of Scotland’s Ryan Quigley in his bronze medal match.