A fifth place for Ashley McKenzie was the standout performance for GB Judo on day one at the Tunis Grand Prix on Friday 19 2018.
The Camberley judoka started well at -60kg as he made short work of Haroud Ramadan (CHA). He followed up an early waza-ari score with a nice bit of ashi-waza to finish the contest.
His second round contest with Tunisia’s Aleddine Ben Chalbi turned into a walkover with the home judoka unable to fight due to injury.
However, that didn’t seem to affect the British judoka as he took on Yassine Moudatir (MOR) in the quarter-final. A typically fast-paced start saw him go ahead by waza-ari in the opening minute.
While he wasn’t to finish the contest, he was too good for the Moroccan judoka who struggled to match his speed and attacking rate.
Slovenia’s Matjaz Trbovc was next up in the semi-final and once again it was the British judoka who took control early on. McKenzie was close to finishing the contest on a couple of occasion in newaza but the contest went into golden score with two shidos against Trbovc.
In golden score though the Slovenian started to get a handle on the contest and fought it at his pace. McKenzie started to pick up shidos for false attacks as he looked to up the pace of the contest.
In the end, a third and final shido saw him drop into the bronze medal contest.
McKenzie faced Japan’s Seiya Miyanohara for bronze. The British judoka picked up a shido inside the opening ten seconds for false attack and the contest followed a pattern in which neither judoka was able to get into a rhythm.
McKenzie picked up a second shido as the contest went into golden score with a third followed not long after to leave him in fifth place.
There was also a seventh place for Chelsie Giles in the -52kg category. The Coventry judoka had a bye into the second round where she was too good for Sofia Chistanova (RUS).
Giles followed a waza-ari score with some sharp newaza to secure the strangle and force Chistanova to tap.
WRL 14 Jessica Pereira was next up in the quarters and it was a pretty even contest throughout. However, the Brazilian judoka took control in the second half of the fight as she went ahead by waza-ari.
Giles continued to press but with just under 30 seconds left she was countered by Pereira for a second waza-ari to end the contest.
Dropping into the repechage, Giles faced Turkey’s Junior European champion Irem Korkmaz. The contest did not last long with Korkmaz throwing Giles for ippon in the opening minute.
-48kg duo Kim Renicks and Kelly Staddon were also in action today. Impressive newaza from Renicks saw her go past Oumaima Bedioui (TUN) as the home judoka was forced to tap with 15 seconds left.
In the second round though Alexandra Pop (ROU) proved too strong. After an even start the Romanian started to go on the attack and but in a number of strong, positive exchanges.
Eventually she secured the win as she threw Renicks for ippon.
Staddon lost her first round contest to Bladine Pont (FRA) in golden score with the French judoka taking the win by waza-ari.
Tomorrow (Saturday 20 January) will see seven British judoka in action: Amy Livesey (-63kg), Lucy Renshall (-63kg), Gemma Howell (-70kg), Jemima Yeats-Brown (-70kg), Dan Powell (-73kg), Eric Ham (-73kg) and Owen Livesey (-81kg).
Competition starts at 0900 UK time with live coverage via britishjudo.org.uk and live.ijf.org. Find the full draw on ippon.org and follow @BritishJudo on Twitter for live updates