GB Judo finished fifth in the medal table at the 2017 Belgrade European Open in Serbia on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September.

GB judoka came home with five medals in total including gold for Acelya Toprak at -57kg. There were also silver medals for Kelly Staddon (-48kg) and Lucy Renshall (-63kg) and bronze medals for Sam Hall (-66kg) and Reece Calder (-90kg).

Toprak’s gold was her first senior world ranking medal and came off the back of her silver at the 2017 Junior European Championships in Maribor.

The Metro Judo Club judoka started her day with a solid win over Sakina Zayirova (AZE) with Toprak forcing the Azerbaijani judoka to tap after some strong newaza. She followed that up against home judoka Marica Perisic (SRB), throwing her opponent for waza-ari in golden score.

Israel’s Maayan Greenberg was next up in the semi-final and the British judoka looked stronger from the start. With little under two minutes left a lovely bit of ashi-waza threw Greenberg for ippon to secure Toprak’s place in the final.

French judoka Amelie Guihur was a former European Open gold medallist from 2015 and was the more experienced of the two fighters. In a close contest neither judoka could get a score in regular time.

The contest went into golden score with both judoka coming close to scoring. Eventually Guihur picked up a second shido which gave Toprak the win and the gold medal.

Lucy Renshall made her return to international competition in Belgrade having picked up an elbow injury at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix in February. The British judoka has fought at the Heart of England as part of her return to play but the competition in Belgrade would be a step up.

The SKK judoka had to come through two golden score contests against Ebba Glaas (SWE) and Jovana Obradovic (SRB) to make it into the semi-finals. In both contests Renshall secured the win in newaza.

Renshall backed that up a solid win over Chloe Yvin (FRA) in the semi-final with a waza-ari proving to be the decisive score.

Unfortunately, Israel’s Rotem Shor proved too strong in the final as she scored two waza-ari to take the gold.

Kelly Staddon won her first senior world ranking medal in Belgrade starting off with an ippon win over Krisztina Tatar (ROU) before seeing off Finland’s Marianne Kosonen by waza-ari in the semi-final.

The final against former Junior World bronze medallist Alexandra Pop (ROU) was a close affair with neither judoka able to gain much of an advantage. With less than 30 seconds to go however the Romanian took the lead by waza-ari. Despite late pressure from Staddon the British judoka wasn’t able to get a score back and finished with silver.

Sam Hall had finished fifth at European Opens on three different occasions but it was fourth time lucky in Belgrade. Hall was too good for Amir Dante (ISR), as he forced the Israeli to pick up three shidos as well scoring a waza-ari.

Italy’s Matteo Piras was in form all day and he got the better of Hall, forcing the British judoka down into the repechage. Hall’s strong newaza came to the fore against Jasleen Singh Saini (IND) as he held the Indian for ippon.

His bronze medal contest with Kevin Azema (FRA) was an exciting encounter with both men looking to score throughout. Both men picked up a shido in regular time as the contest went into golden score. In the end though it was Hall who took the win, throwing Azema for waza-ari.

Reece Calder added the fifth medal of the weekend on Sunday, his first at a senior world ranking event. The Scottish judoka made a strong start with ippon wins over Hussain Mahmoud A Altanbakti (KSA) and Antoine Lamour (FRA).

Italy’s Grand Slam and Grand Prix medallist Walter Facente was next up in the quarter-finals and the Italian proved too strong on the day. Moving into the repechage Calder came through a physical contest with Kyrgyzstan’s Faruch Bulekulov, winning in golden score by ippon.

Another golden score contest followed in the bronze medal match against Ionut Vasian (ROU). Calder was the more positive judoka throughout and was rewarded in golden score as he showed good determination to follow up on an initial attack to throw Vasian for waza-ari.