GB Judo took home five medals from the 2019 Sofia and Odivelas European Opens on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 February.
There were first Continental Open medals for Lele Nairne (-57kg bronze), Emma Reid (-78kg silver) and Harry Lovell-Hewitt (-90kg silver).
Lubjana Piovesana (-63kg silver) and Stuart McWatt (-81kg bronze) won their second and third Continental Open medals respectively.
The women’s team were in action over in Sofia and Saturday proved to be a good day with Piovesana and Nairne both making it onto the medal rostrum.
Piovesana was fighting for the first time since winning U23 European gold in November 2018. She had to come through some tough fights on the way to final where she lost a close match to France’s Maelle Di Cintio by waza-ari.
Bradley Stoke’s Lele Nairne had been close to a European Open medal before, losing for bronze in Glasgow last year.
The British fighter produced some dynamic judo as she made her way through to the medal contests. A waza-ari in the dying seconds of her bronze medal fight against Marica Perisic (SRB) secured her place on the medal rostrum.
Sunday was Emma Reid’s turn as she produced a couple of impressive ippon wins on her way to the final.
She faced Italy’s Giorgia Stangherlin in the final and it proved to a be a hard-fought match with the Italian winning by waza-ari.
The men’s team were fighting in Portugal with Sunday turning into a busy one for GB Judo with three fighters making it to the final block.
Lovell-Hewitt has just come out of junior competitions but didn’t look out of place in just his second European Open.
The Stroud judoka beat fellow GB fighter Jamal Petgrave in the semi-final in a golden score contest decided on shidos before giving former World Champion Loic Petri (FRA) a tough time.
A late waza-ari to Petri proved decisive, leaving Lovell-Hewitt with silver.
Petgrave lost out for bronze to France’s Benoit Collin.
McWatt went in as top seed and backed it up with some good judo. He lost out to Nicolas Chilard (FRA) in the semi-final but recovered well to grind out his bronze medal contest against Filip Stancel (SVK).