Max Stewart just missed out on a place on the medal rostrum as he finished fifth at the 2018 Zagreb Grand Prix on Sunday 29 July.
The -90kg judoka was fighting for just the second time at international level this year following a long injury lay-off and he made a good start as he beat Finland’s Jakkoo Alli by ippon with a nice drop seoi-nage.
In the second round Stewart was up against WRL 8 Krisztian Toth (HUN), a judoka he’d lost to previously.
Stewart grew into the contest and did a good job nullifying Toth’s attacks for the most part, resulting in two shidos against the Hungarian judoka.
The contest went into golden score with Stewart having picked up a shido too but after just 35 added seconds the British judoka was able to counter Toth’s drop attack and take him back for a waza-ari score.
This gave Stewart a shot at the quarter-finals but first he had to take on Canada’s Louis Krieber Gagnon in the round of 16.
In a fairly even contest the British judoka’s greater positivity resulted in a couple of shido’s for the Canadian while Stewart had one himself for pushing.
For the second contest in a row Stewart would have to win it in golden score which he duly did, this time spotting an opportunity to apply the shime-waza and force Gagnon to tap.
This set up a quarter-final against Georgia’s Avtandili Tchrikishvili with the experienced former -81kg World Champion controlling matters from the off.
A waza-ari score to the Georgian proved to be decisive and Stewart was unable to really get into the contest.
This meant Stewart would have to go through the repechage final where he faced Batuhan Efemgil (TUR).
The British judoka looked strong from the start and took a waza-ari lead after little over a minute. He continued to control things from there despite Efemgil’s best efforts.
The British judoka came close to finish the contest on a number of occasions as the Turkish judoka pressed hard but in the end that early score was enough to put Stewart into the bronze medal fight.
World Champion and WRL 4 Nemanja Majdov (SRB) stood in his way for bronze and the Serbian had beaten Stewart twice before in close contests.
The British judoka more than held his own for large parts of the contest as he did a good job of controlling Majdov’s attempts to take a dominant grip.
Eventually though the Serbian caught Stewart with a drop seoi-nage and went into the hold down to secure a bronze medal.
Jemima Yeats-Brown (-78kg) and Sarah Adlington (+78kg) both made it to the second round in their respective weight categories.
Yeats-Brown beat Patricia Sampaio (POR) in golden score as the Portuguese judoka was forced into picking up three shidos for passivity.
The Ryecroft judoka took on WRL 15 and European bronze medallist Anna Maria Wagner (GER) for a place in the quarters.
Yeats-Brown was unable to get into the contest as Wagner forced her into picking up two shidos before throwing the British fighter for ippon.
Adlington faced home judoka Zrinka Miocic (CRO) in the first round and made short work of her opponent as she threw Croatian twice for waza-ari.
WRL 9 Maryna Slutskaya (BLR) was next up and both judoka picked up two shidos in little time as they both struggled to get dominance in the fight.
The Belarussian judoka spotted an opportunity though and threw Adlington for ippon.
Natalie Powell (-78kg) and Frazer Chamberlain (-90kg) both went out in their first contests to Karla Prodan (CRO) and Stanislav Retinskii (RUS) respectively.