GB judoka found their way to the medal rostrum at the weekend at the Casablanca African Open and the Coimbra Junior European Cup on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 March.
Casablanca African Open
A seven strong GB Judo squad took to the mat in Morocco with Gregg Varey the standout performer with a bronze medal in the -66kg category. The Team Bath judoka had come seventh at the Katowice European Open last time out and made a good start with a win over Abdulaziz Albashi (KSA) by waza-ari and ippon. He backed that up in the quarter-final as he saw off the challenge of Jose Antonio Aranda Olalla (ESP) scoring two waza-ari in the process.
However in the semi-final Spain’s Gar Uriarte proved too strong leaving Varey with the opportunity to fight for bronze against current Junior European Champion Dzmitry Minkou (BLR). Nothing separated the two judoka in regulation time with the Belarussian having conceded a single shido. Varey made short work of golden score as he scored waza-ari within 36 seconds to finish the contest and take the bronze medal.
There were also seventh places finishes for Malin Wilson (-57kg) and Adam Hoshal (-81kg).
Coimbra Junior European Cup
A young GB Junior squad made a solid start to the year in Portugal with Wesley Greenidge (+100kg) and Jamal Petgrave (-90kg) impressing on their way to silver and bronze medals respectively.
Greenidge came home with bronze from Coimbra last year and was looking to better that result at the weekend. The Enfield judoka made a good start as he won his opening contest by ippon against Russia’s Dzhamal Gamzatkhanov. Rick Zomer of the Netherlands was next up and the British fighter went ahead by waza-ari before forcing his opponent to pick up three shidos which gave him the win and a spot in the final.
The gold medal match proved to be a tight, tactical affair against Brazil’s Arthur Barboza however it was the British fighter who came out on the wrong side of the referee as he picked up three shidos to finish with silver.
Petgrave continued his return from injury with a solid day’s judo starting with a dominant win over Brais Bouteira Taboada (ESP). Sweden’s Julius Sonerod proved a tough customer in the quarter-finals however as he went ahead by waza-ari early on and was able to hold off the British fighter as he looked to level things up.
Dropping into the repechage Petgrave responded well as he pulled off a big ura-nage on Portugal’s Guilherme Salvador before proving too strong for Darko Brasnjovic (SRB) with two waza-ari seeing him into the bronze medal match.
Brazil’s Henrique Francini went ahead early in the contest by waza-ari and looked to seal the contest with another big throw. However, in doing so he received hansoku-make for a dangerous escape from an attempted throw by the British judoka. This meant that Petgrave picked up his second Junior European Cup medal after bronze in Lignano last year.
Shelley Ludford (-70kg) just missed out on picking up her first Junior European Cup medal as she lost in the bronze medal match to Margit De Voogd (NED) to finish in fifth. There were also seventh place finishes for Jade Warr (-78kg), Scott Thomson (-60kg) and James Hayes (-81kg).
GB Cadet and Junior judoka will next be in action this weekend at the International Masters Bremen and International Thuringia Cup on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 March.