Tunisia is the first stop on the 2018 IJF World Tour for GB Judo at this weekend’s Tunis Grand Prix from Friday 19 – Sunday 21 January.
A 14 strong* GB Judo team will be in action across the three days with a mix of experienced competitors and those looking to gain experience at Grand Prix level.
The last time Tunis hosted a Grand Prix was in 2010 and no GB judoka medalled on that occasion or the year before in 2009.
The highly experienced Ashley McKenzie (-60kg) will lead the British challenge across the three days.
McKenzie also had a good 2017 with silver and bronze respectively at The Hague and Cancun Grand Prix as well as a seventh at the European Championships.
Gemma Howell (-70kg) had an impressive 2017 in her first year at her new weight. The Wolverhampton judoka took home bronze medals at the Antalya and Cancun Grand Prix.
In contrast, Jemima Yeats-Brown (-70kg) missed the majority of last year due to an ACL injury and only made her return to competition at the British Championships last December, where she won gold.
Tunis will also see two of the Livesey siblings taking to the mat. Amy Livesey will go in as one of the top seeds at -63kg after strong results last year including Ekaterinburg Grand Slam bronze and a seventh at the World Championships in Budapest.
At -81kg Owen Livesey will be looking to win his first Grand Prix medal after a hard fought fifth place at the Tbilisi Grand Prix last year.
Chelsie Giles (-52kg), Eric Ham (-73kg), Dan Powell (-73kg) and Jamal Petgrave (-90kg) are in their first year at Senior level and will be looking to gain further experience of this standard of competition.
-48kg duo of Kim Renicks and Kelly Staddon both go in off with some strong showings at world ranking events in 2017. Renicks just missed out on the medals at Cancun and The Hague Grand Prix while Staddon took home silver at the Belgrade European Open, as well as a bronze at the U23 European Championships.
Lucy Renshall will also be fighting at -63kg and, like her teammate, she goes in as one of the top seeds. The SKK judoka had an injury hit 2017 but medals at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and Zagreb Grand Prix helped her qualify for the end of year World Masters in St Petersburg.
Frazer Chamberlain and Philip Awiti-Alcaraz will be in action at -90kg and -100kg respectively. Chamberlain made his return to international competition towards the back end of 2017 while Awiti-Alcaraz will fighting for the first time since the Zagreb Grand Prix.
Competition starts at 0730 UK time on Friday and 0900 on Saturday and Sunday with live coverage via britishjudo.org.uk and live.ijf.org. Follow @BritishJudo on Twitter for live updates throughout the weekend. The full draw can be found at ippon.org and a list of first contests for the GB judoka is below
DAY ONE FIRST CONTESTS
Kim Renicks vs Oumaima Bedioui (TUN)
Kelly Staddon vs Blandine Pont (FRA)
Chelsie Giles vs Sofia Chistanova (RUS) or Fatima Zahra El Qorachi (MAR)
Ashley McKenzie vs Haroun Ramadan (CHA)
DAY TWO FIRST CONTESTS
Amy Livesey vs Yousr Sghaier (TUN) or Laerke Olsen (DEN)
Lucy Renshall vs Ines Prevot (FRA) or Isabel Puche (ESP)
Gemma Howell vs Tatiana Kovalenko (RUS)
Jemima Yeats-Brown vs Marina Olarte (FRA)
Eric Ham vs Georgii Shmakov (RUS)
Dan Powell vs Belhassen Louati (TUN)
Owen Livesey vs Ivan Petr (CZE)
DAY THREE FIRST CONTESTS
Frazer Chamberlain vs Shermukhammad Jandreev (UZB)
Jamal Petgrave vs Robert Florentino (DOM)
Philip Awiti-Alcaraz vs Otto Imala (SUI) vs Oussama Abouda (TUN)
*Bekky Livesey, Natalie Powell and Stuart McWatt have been withdrawn as a precautionary measure after the Mittersill OTC. All are expected to be back competing at the start of February.