Five British fighters guaranteed a spot on the Masters

The 2015 Baku Grand Slam has come to the end. The GB elite judo team returned with one gold, two silver and one bronze medal. After a successful weekend the team finished fifth place on the overall medal table.

Gemma Gibbons kicked off the day with a win against Talarn (ESP) in the u78kg category. To get into the quarter-finals she had to overcome Steenhuis (NED). Gibbons was leading the contest by two penalties until getting caught for waza-ari by the Dutch judoka’s favourite left sided uchi-mata. Gibbons managed to put Steenhuis under pressure for a third penalty, however the time ran out to make it four. The Dutch judoka then went on to win it all.

In the same weight, Natalie Powell was facing Ogata (JPN) where the Japanese judoka put Powell down with two penalties before using her extreme ne-waza skills to go through to the quarter-finals. A similar match up was displayed between the contest of Fletcher vs Haga (JPN) in the first round of the u100kg category, where also a ne-waza action from Haga set Fletcher back to have an early exit.

In no doubt that the overall achievement was incredible from the team throughout the weekend, GB performance elite coaches, Kate Howey and Jean-Paul Bell both agreed on with a positive feedback – “Overall we are really pleased with the results and the points gained towards Rio. Some players made good improvements and this is good going towards to the Europeans and Masters.”

The Masters is one of the highest point scoring events throughout the Olympic qualification, however to be eligible to attend at such an event, each individual must be ranked in the top 16 of the World ranking list. Great Britain’s judo team has five guaranteed spots. In addition to the already qualified crew, Ashley McKenzie (u60kg) wI’ll await the final update of the world ranking list to see if he has reached the qualification criteria. 

23rd & 24th of May 2015 Rabat, Morocco

Colin Oates (u66kg)
Nekoda Davis (u57kg)
Alice Schlesinger (u63kg)
Sally Conway (u70kg)
Natalie Powell (u78kg)