GB Judoka set for Baku Grand Slam

This weekend will see 12 GB judoka competing in the Baku Grand Slam as the International Judo Federation (IJF) World Tour heads to Azerbaijan for the final quarter of the 2023 season.

On Monday and Tuesday, the tatami will be handed over to the Paralympic judoka as the IBSA Judo Grand Prix takes centre stage.

Friday 22nd – Preliminary Rounds 06:30 (BST) | Final Block 13:00

Chelsie Giles (Coventry Judo Club) competes for the first time since her 5th place finish at the Judo Masters in August. Giles topped the podium at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam earlier this year and is a former silver medallist at the Baku Grand Slam.

Giles enters as the number 2 seed with a first-round bye, potentially facing either Amber Ryheul (BEL) or Mari Makharashvili (GEO).

In the -57kg category, Nekoda Smythe-Davis (Ealing Judo Club; Jo Crowley) will be in action however Acelya Toprak (Metro JC/ Relentless Judo; Darren Hawney/ Fitzroy Davies) haswithdrew due to injury. Smythe-Davis has recently finished 5th at the Ulaanbaatar Grand Slam after starting the season with a bronze medal at the Portugal Grand Prix and will be joined by Malin Wilson (Judo Scotland / Asociación Judo Móstoles; Javi Delgado).

Smythe-Davis will face Nilufar Ermaganbetova (UZB) whilst Wilson has been drawn against Priscilla Gneto (FRA).

Sam Hall (Ryecroft Judokwai; Fitzroy Davies) returns to the World Tour stage in the -66kg category. The Warsaw European Open bronze medallist has a first round bye, but will face either Andrej Klokov (LTU) or Lennart Slamberger (GER.

Saturday 23rd – Preliminary Rounds 06:30 (BST) | Final Block 13:00

Lachlan Moorhead (Penistone JC; Matt Moorhead) will be in action in the -81kg category. The former Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist will face Shodmon Rizoev (TJK).

Jemima Yeats-Brown (Ryecroft Judokwai; Ian Oliver) recently recorded back-to-back 5th place finishes at the World Championships in Doha and the Dushanbe Grand Prix.

Drawn in Pool A, Yeats-Brown will face Serafima Moscalu (ROU).

Eric Ham (Glossop JC; Geoff Ham) will compete in the -73kg category. Ham is no stranger to the World Tour circuit having made his Grand Prix debut in 2016.

Competing for the second time in Baku, Ham will face either Jorge Cano Garcia (ESP) or Joan-Benjamin Gaba (FRA) after a first-round bye.

Sunday 24th – Preliminary Rounds 06:30 (BST) | Final Block 13:00

Jamal Petgrave (Westcroft Judo Club; Andy Ede) and Stuart McWatt (Gairoch JC; Stuart McWatt) will compete in the -90kg category on the final day of competition.

Petgrave finished 5th at the Austria Grand Prix earlier this year where McWatt made his return to competition following a year out with injury.

Petgrave will face Kenta Nagasawa (JPN) whilst McWatt has been drawn against Mihael Zgank (TUR)

Emma Reid (Redbridge JC; Steve Sandy) head to Baku seeded 8th in the -78kg category. Reid is a former Grand Slam gold medallist and makes her 2nd appearance in Baku having finished 5th in 2022.

Reid will face either Moria De Villiers (NZL) or Darya Kantsavaya (AIN) after a first-round bye.

Rhys Thompson (Enfield JC; George Hyslop) will be joined by Harry Lovell-Hewitt (Stroud JC; Richard Neale) in the -100kg category. Both judoka were Commonwealth Games bronze medallists in Birmingham last year whilst Thompson finished 5th at the Austria Grand Prix earlier this year and Lovell-Hewitt has won silver medals at both the Rome and Sofia European Opens.

Thompson will face L.A Smith III (USA) whilst Lovell-Hewitt has been drawn against Matvey Kanikovkiy (AIN).

Tuesday 26th – Preliminary Rounds TBC 07:00 | Final Block 14:00

Connah Anders (Fitzroy Davies; Hardy Spicer 83) and Miles Soloman (Oxford University JC; Chris Doherty) will be in action in the -73kg category. Anders, who recently finished 5th at the European Championships will compete in the J1 classification whilst Soloman will undergo classification ahead of the event.

Wednesday 27th – Preliminary Rounds 07:00 (BST) | Final Block 14:00

Evan Molloy (Devizes JC; Mark Burbridge) will compete in the J2 -90kg category following his bronze medal performance at the European Championships and 7th place finish at the IBSA World Games.

Tokyo Paralympic champion Chris Skelley (Haltemprice; Ian Johns) will be joined by Jack Hodgson (Grimsby JC; Terry Alltoft) in the J2 +90kg category in Baku. Skelley recently finished 5th at the World Games after a silver medal at the European Championships whilst Hodgson made his return to competition at those European Championships, after a year out with injury.

Kirsten Taylor (David Scobie; Tayside JC) is in action in the J2 +70kg category. Taylor claimed bronze at the European Championships before a 7th place finish at the World Games in Birmingham.

You can watch all the action from the Baku Grand Slam LIVE at each day whilst the IBSA Judo Grand Prix, will be streamed on the IBSA You Tube channel.

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