Judo claimed the first medal for Team GB of the multi-sport European Youth Olympic Festival, with a superb silver by Peter Miles in the -55kg competition.
Recent European bronze medallist Miles, who is aiming for the 2020 Olympics, edged through the preliminary round against Lithuanian Edgaras Lizunas with a single shido to his opponents two and steadily improved throughout the next two rounds to win his pool.
He beat Slovakian Martin Majer by a yuko and then defeated Denis Vieru of Moldova with two waza-ari’s. His winning streak culminated in an ippon win in the semis against Tallinn silver medallist Ilkin Babazada of Azerbaijan, but he came unstuck when he faced Former Cadet Champion(U17) Erekle Arkhozashvili of Georgia, losing by ippon in the final round. It was a tough match against the Georgian who has an impressive record on the European circuit.
“The Georgian was very strong. I fought him well but I just got caught doing a technique and got held down. It’s a bit unfortunate but I gave it my all.” said Miles after the contest.
“If I were to face him again I would do the same. I will make sure I train harder, get stronger and hopefully I will beat him next time.
“I was slightly nervous but also excited going into today’s competition, but it is good to have a bit of nerves. I was really looking forward to competing and getting a medal, which I managed so I am really happy.”
He said he owes his success to his fans. “I had great support today; my teammates really cheered me on. So I will be doing that for them for the rest of the week.”
He is looking forward to his next big event – the World Cadet Championships in Miami next month.
“I am ranked quite high in Europe now so I am looking forward to testing myself against the Asians and Americans, hopefully I can get a good result out there,” he said.
“I won a bronze medal at the European Champs and silver here today, so hopefully I can go one better in Miami.”
Matt Divall, England’s Performance Manager, said: “It was a great performance and a strong start for GB. The cadets just keep getting better and better. The win comes off the back of a European Bronze in Tallinn. Peter has been very consistent and he is now going to Miami. Peter has set the pace and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the competitions.”
Later in the day two other sports claimed silver while two gold and two bronze medals were also won.
Image by Karel Seydel
Words by Donna Richardson.