GB Judo are back in action this weekend (10 – 11 February) for one of the prestige events of the judo calendar, the 2018 Paris Grand Slam.
An eight strong British team will be taking to the mat at the AccorHotels Arena. Amy and Bekky Livesey being late withdrawals from the team due to the medical reasons.
Last year Lucy Renshall (-63kg) and Max Stewart (-90kg) just missed out on the medal rostrum on their Paris debuts as they finished fifth.
Renshall returns to Paris this weekend with her first-round contest a rematch of her bronze medal match last year as she takes on Kiyomi Watanabe (PHI).
The St Helens judoka finished fifth at the Tunis Grand Prix last month and she will be aiming for her second Grand Slam medal following a silver in Abu Dhabi last year.
At -57kg, Nekoda Smythe-Davis will be making her first appearance on the IJF World Tour in 2018. The World bronze medallist takes on Bulgaria’s Ivelina Ilieva in the first round.
Smythe-Davis beat Ilieva at the 2015 World Championships but the Bulgarian won a European Championships silver in 2016.
Ashley McKenzie (-60kg) faces the experienced Czech judoka Pavel Petrikov in his first contest on Saturday.
The British judoka has won their two contests to date, with the last win coming in 2011. Petrikov finished fifth at last year’s World Championships while McKenzie enjoyed a consistent 2017 including Grand Prix silver at The Hague.
Sunday will be a busy day for GB Judo with five judoka going for gold. -70kg duo of Sally Conway and Jemima Yeats-Brown have tricky first round contests.
Conway will have to contend with home crowd support as she faces former Junior World bronze medallist Melissa Heleine (FRA) in the first round.
The Rio 2016 bronze medallist added a ninth Grand Prix medal to her collection in 2017 with silver in Cancun.
Yeats-Brown will be making her Paris debut and she will take on Korea’s WRL 17 Seongyeon Kim. The Korean judoka is an experienced judoka with a bronze medal at the 2013 World Championships to her name.
This will be Yeats-Brown made her return to international competition in Tunis last month following almost a year out due to a knee injury.
At -78kg Natalie Powell will be looking to win her second Paris Grand Slam medal, following a bronze in 2016.
The Irfon judoka had a stellar 2017 including World Championship bronze and Abu Dhabi Grand Slam gold. Powell also reached No.1 in the world rankings for the first time in her career.
She will have the winner of the Zhenzhao Ma (CHN) and Jeongyun Lee (KOR) in the last 16.
Edinburgh judoka Sarah Adlington will go in as one of the top seeds at +78kg as she faces China’s Yan Wang in the last 16. The Chinese judoka is much less experienced at this level compared to Adlington.
The British judoka enjoyed a strong 2017 with three Grand Prix medals including bronze in Tashkent.
Philip Awiti-Alcaraz (-100kg) will be returning to the Paris Grand Slam for the first time since 2016. The Enfield judoka has an injury hit 2017 but was able to medal at the Cancun Grand Prix, winning bronze.
Awiti-Alcaraz will be up against the French crowd as well as his opponent Cedric Olivar in the first round.
Competition starts at 0900 UK time on both days with the final block getting underway at 1600 UK time.
You can watch it all live at live.ijf.org with live updates via @BritishJudo on Twitter and exclusive behind the scenes content on British Judo’s Instagram and Facebook.