Nekoda Smythe-Davis ended 2017 with a fifth-place finish at the 2017 St Petersburg World Masters on Saturday 16 December.
In this ranking-based invitation event the GB Judo team would be up against the very best in the world from the very start of the competition.
World bronze medallist Smythe-Davis started her day at -57kg in a rematch of her medal contest from the World Championships in Budapest as she took on Miryam Roper (PAN).
The Panama judoka made the better start as she took the lead by waza-ari. The British fighter responded well though and was soon level as she got the better of a physical exchange.
The contest went into golden score where Smythe-Davis took control and finished the contest with a second waza-ari score.
2016 Olympic champion Rafaela Silva (BRA) was next up in the quarters and it took a nice bit te-waza from the Brazilian to win as she countered Smythe-Davis’s attempted attack for ippon.
Dropping into the repechage Smythe-Davis took on Israel’s Tinma Nelson Levy for a place in the bronze medal contest.
The British judoka looked strong from the start with a nice foot sweep ensuring she took the lead by waza-ari.
The Israeli judoka was soon level though with a strong and determined attacking forcing Smythe-Davis to concede a waza-ari. The contest continued in a similar vein with both fighters looking dangerous.
The British judoka looked to have taken a decisive lead in the final minute but the score was taken off after a review and the contest went into golden score. By this stage Nelson Levy had also picked up two shidos to one by Smythe-Davis.
Nelson Levy looked the stronger of the pair though and she soon forced Smythe-Davis to concede a second shido for a false attack. The British judoka came firing back though and threw her opponent for ippon in the very next exchange.
Korea’s Paris Grand Slam Youjeong Kwon stood in her way for bronze. The Korean made a fast start and came close to scoring on a couple of occasions but the British judoka looked strong.
Eventually though Kwon was able to pull out a big throw to win the contest by ippon and leave Smythe-Davis outside the medals.
Alice Schlesinger was one of two British judoka fighting at -63kg today and she made a dominant start as she proved too strong for Hannah Martin (USA).
The American judoka struggled to match the British fighter’s physicality and off the back of an attempted attack Schlesinger saw an opportunity to apply juji-gatame and soon forced Martin to tap.
Japan’s Miku Tashiro had beaten Schlesinger two weeks ago at the Tokyo Grand Slam and she looked in control early on in their quarter-final.
Tashiro had an early waza-ari taken off but when Schlesinger got in close it was the Japanese judoka who came out of top, scoring ippon.
The repechage final saw Schlesinger take on Juul Franssen (NED) with the Dutch judoka having won their recent encounter at The Hague Grand Prix last month.
The British judoka dominated large parts of the contest, having an early waza-ari score taken off as well as almost winning by osaekomi. Franssen was forced to pick up two shidos for passivity as she struggled to match Schlesinger’s attack rate.
The contest went into golden score and the Dutch fighter went on the attack immediately and eventually she won the contest by waza-ari, throwing Schlesinger 46 seconds into golden score.
This meant Schlesinger finished in seventh place in her last competition of 2017.
Lucy Renshall was also in action at -63kg on her World Masters debut. Austria’s Magdalena Krssakova proved too good on the day with two waza-aris scores proving more than enough to win their first round contest.
Sunday 17 December will see Rio 2016 bronze medallist Sally Conway (-70kg), Gemma Howell (-70kg), World bronze medallist Natalie Powell (-78kg) and Sarah Adlington (+78kg) in action.
Competition starts at 0700 UK Time with live coverage via britishjudo.org.uk and @BritishJudo on Twitter