Following the first stage of selection, eight GB judoka have been selected for the 2018 European Championships in Tel Aviv, Israel from 26 – 28 April.
Rio 2016 bronze medallist Sally Conway and 2017 World bronze medallists Nekoda Smythe-Davis and Natalie Powell are among the initial selection in which every judoka has medalled at Grand Prix or Grand Slam level in the last year.
A second round of selection for the European Championships will follow the Tbilisi Grand Prix (30 March – 1 April).
At the 2017 European Championships in Warsaw, Poland, GB Judo took home two bronze medals through Alice Schlesinger (-63kg) and Powell (-78kg).
Conway (-70kg) made a strong start to 2018 winning gold at the prestigious Paris Grand Slam in February. This made Conway only the sixth British judoka to have won the Paris tournament and the first since Craig Fallon in 2003.
Nekoda Smythe-Davis (-57kg) also medalled in Paris, winning bronze before securing her first Grand Slam title at the Dusseldorf tournament two weeks later.
That result moved the Londoner up to World No.3 at her weight, her highest world ranking to date, and means she, along with Powell, are the highest ranked British judoka at international level.
Powell (-78kg), who became the first British female judoka to top the world rankings last year, added a fourth Grand Slam medal to her collection with a bronze in Dusseldorf.
The Irfon judoka’s bronze in Warsaw was her second European Championships medal, following a bronze the year before in Kazan.
Schlesinger has been selected at -63kg and is currently ranked World No.7 at that weight. The three-time Olympian won her second Baku Grand Slam title last year as well as silver at The Hague Grand Prix.
She will be joined at that weight by Lucy Renshall, who will be making her European Championships debut in Tel Aviv.
The St Helens judoka is a former Junior and U23 European champion and has enjoyed a terrific last 12 months including Abu Dhabi Grand Slam silver last year.
Wolverhampton’s Gemma Howell will be making her first appearance at a European Championships since 2015. It will also be her first at -70kg having moved up a weight at the start of 2017.
Since then Howell has won three Grand Prix medals, most recently at the Tunis Grand Prix in January, where she won bronze.
Sarah Adlington (+78kg) enjoyed a strong 2017, winning three Grand Prix bronze medals and the Edinburgh judoka will be aiming for her best finish at a European Championships to date.
-60kg judoka Ashley McKenzie has had a consistent run of results since the Rio Olympic Games, medalling or placing at every event he’s entered bar two.
McKenzie won bronze at the Paris Grand Slam at the start of the year and finished seventh at last year’s European Championships.
Speaking on the initial eight strong selection, British Judo Performance Director Nigel Donohue said:
“The fact that we’ve got such a strong team already after the first round of selections is testament to the performances of this group of judoka who have performed consistently over the last year.
“They have medalled at some of the toughest competitions in the world over the last 12 months including the World Championships and the Paris Grand Slam.
“There is still a month’s worth of competitions before the final round of selections at the start of April and we’re looking forward to seeing how our GB judoka perform at some high-class tournaments.”
|Under 60kg||Ashley McKenzie||Camberley|
|Under 57kg||Nekoda Davis||Ealing|
|Under 63kg||Alice Schlesinger||Not stated|
|Under 63kg||Lucy Renshall||S.K.K.|
|Under 70kg||Sally Conway||Edinburgh|
|Under 70kg||Gemma Howell||Wolverhampton|
|Under 78kg||Natalie Powell||Irfon|
|Over 78kg||Sarah Adlington||Edinburgh|