Fifth place for women’s team at Europeans

British Judo’s Women’s team finished fifth at the 2016 Junior European Judo Championships in Malaga on Sunday 18 September.

The Women’s team of Chelsie Giles (-52kg), Acelya Toprak/Lele Nairne (-57kg), Lubjana Piovesana (-63kg), Shelley Ludford (-70kg) and Michelle Boyle (+78kg) got off to a strong start with a dominant win 4-1 over Spain in the first round with all four wins coming in newaza.

In the quarter-finals they took on Russia as Giles got things off to a good start as a nice counter saw her go up by waza-ari before holding off her opponent to give the team a 1-0 lead. Lele Nairne however found herself armlocked as she tried to get out of an attempted throw and that levelled the score at 1-1. Piovesana regained the lead in a very tactical contest where a single shido proved decisive.

Ludford fought well against her opponent despite going down by waza-ari in the first minute but was caught in the final 30 seconds for a second time to tie things up. In the fifth contest Boyle went ahead by yuko but two late scores to Russia gave them the contest.

Montenegro were the team in their way in the repechage final and once again Chelsie Giles got things off to a good start as she threw her opponent in the very first exchange for waza-ari. Not long after some great newaza secured the victory as the Montenegro judoka was forced to tap out.

Toprak was back in the team at -57kg and in an exciting contest the British judoka was unable to pull off the decisive score in tachiwaza or newaza and found herself countered on three occasions for yuko. Piovesana then left it late in her contest as she went behind by a single shido before throwing her opponent for yuko in the very last exchange.

Ludford was then unable to bring back an early yuko score against her meaning it was again down to Boyle. This time the British judoka dominated from the start. A superb counter saw her go up by waza-ari before strong newaza forced her opponent to tap out.

The bronze medal match saw them face a France team with two of the current Junior European Judo champions. After three wins during the day Giles was unable to get the better of her opponent and lost a very awkward, tactical contest on shidos before Acelya Toprak brought the score back to 1-1 with a dominant display.

Piovesana then proved too good for her opponent as some more good newaza forced her to tap out. Shelley Ludford then took on Marie Eve Gahie and she gave the European champion as good as she got. However the French judoka needed just one opportunity and she took it scoring with a big throw to take the contest.

Michelle Boyle took on Julia Tolofua and it was another tough contest as the much bigger French judoka forced Boyle to pick up two shidos for two shidos. Not long after the second shido, the British fighter was given hansoku-make for a leg grab which ended the match 3-2 in favour of France.

The Men’s team were also in action but came up against a very strong Azerbaijan team in the first match. With three of the team moving up a weight it was always going to be a tough ask and they went out 5-0.