GB Judo Preview: 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam

The IPIC Arena in Abu Dhabi will play host to the penultimate Grand Slam of 2017 as an eight strong GB Judo team take to the mat from Thursday 26 to Saturday 28 October.

With the World Masters taking place in St Petersburg in December, a number of the world’s top judoka are in Abu Dhabi looking to secure a place in the WRL 16 of their weight categories.

On day one (Thursday 26), Kelly MacDonald (-52kg), Bekky Livesey (-57kg) and Nekoda Davis (-57kg) will be looking to put in a strong showing in tough fields.

MacDonald won her maiden Grand Slam medal last year in Abu Dhabi and while she hasn’t had the same level of success in 2017 she will feel confident after a good training block in Israel. She takes on Canada’s Ecaterina Guica in the last 16. The Canadian beat MacDonald in Sofia earlier this year and has a Grand Prix silver to her name in Hohhot in 2017.

World bronze medallist Davis will be fighting in her third competition since thumb surgery in April after backing up her World medal with silver at the Zagreb Grand Prix. She will take on Nazakat Azizova (AZE) in the last 16 with a potential semi-final against World Champion Sumiya Dorjsuren (MGL) in store.

Livesey will be making her Grand Slam debut in Abu Dhabi and will be fighting for the first time since the World Championships in August. The SKK judoka missed Zagreb due to illness and will face Russia’s Daria Mezhetskaia first.

Day two (Friday 27) will be the turn of the middleweights with our -63kg duo Amy Livesey and Lucy Renshall being joined by Gemma Howell (-70kg).

Livesey goes in as second seed off the back of some notable success in 2017 including silver at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam and a seventh at the World Championships. Israel’s Rotem Shor (ISR/IJF) will be her second round opponent on Friday.

Renshall has made a solid return from elbow injury with silver at the Belgrade European Open and bronze at the Zagreb Grand Prix last month. She has a bye into the second round and will face the winner of Nadja Bazynski (GER) and Sofia Belattar (MAR).

Wolverhampton judoka Howell will be making her appearance at a Grand Slam at -70kg having moved up a weight category at the start of 2017. The transition has been a success with Grand Prix medals in Antalya and Cancun. She will face Hungary’s former Junior World Champion Szabina Gercsak first up with the British judoka currently holding a winner record over the World No.13.

Current -78kg World No.2 Natalie Powell and Sarah Adlington (+78kg) will the final two GB judoka fighting in Abu Dhabi on Saturday 28.

Powell could potentially overtake Mayra Aguiar (BRA) at the top of the world rankings and she will have the winner of Yarden Mayersohn (IJF/ISR) and Yahima Ramirez (POR) in her first fight.

Adlington has shown good form recently with a bronze at the Zagreb Grand Prix moving into the world top 25. She will take on Azerbaijan’s World bronze medallist Iryna Kindzerska in her first contest.

Competition will start at different time during the week with a 7:30AM on Thursday and Friday with a 9:00AM start on Saturday.

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