Nekoda Davis (-57 kg) finished fifth at the Croatian Grand Prix – her first placing at a major IJF Grand Prix tournament at senior level.
The 21-year-old previously enjoyed success at the European Open in Madrid 2014 and a third place at the European Open Lisbon and Madrid in 2013.
In Zegreb she won her first fight against Nora Gjakova of Kosovo by yuko and then her second against Hana Carmichael of the United States of America. At first an ippon was awarded and then this was discounted and she was awarded a waza-ari with one minute 10 seconds on the clock.
Then she faced an old foe in Laetitia Blot and was a shido down before she was thrown for ippon in the last seconds trying to get the shido back.
She bounced back in the repechage against Stefanie Tremblay and the contest went into golden score as the pair levelled on shidos. In just under a minute though, Davis beat her for ippon and a secured a place in the bronze medal match against Jovana Rogic of Serbia.
Nekoda lost the bronze by waza-ari. She was ahead by a yuko but was countered and then forced three shidos but the time ran out.
Nekoda felt she was really close to getting a medal saying: “I am really frustrated at my losses today but it is my best result to date, at senior level, so I will take some positives from it but definitely work on a few things going forward.”
Senior women’s coach Kate Howey, MBE, said: “Nekoda is improving at this level and came close today at
winning a medal and in the process beat three girls ranked above her. This is her best result so far at a Grand Prix and it will get better.”
Elsewhere, Ashley Mckenzie and Colin Oates both exited early at the Grand Prix. Mckenzie lost to Francisco Garrigos of Spain by waza-ari and Oates to Sinan Sandal by the same score.