Gemma Gibbons and Alice Schlesinger medal in Europe

Two Olympians who both grew up on different sides of the world, but now fly the same flag, took silver and bronze medals at the European open in Sofia, Bulgaria this weekend for Great Britain.

2014 British champion Alice Schlesinger (-63kg) joined the Great Britain squad earlier this year from her native Israel and scooped silver in her first competition flying the Union Jack.

The 26-year old, who came seventh at London 2012, is a World and European medallist as well as former U23 European Champion, defeated Eli Savet of Greece by ippon and then floored Nina Milosovic of Slovenia by waza-ari before executing two ippons over France’s Maelle Di Cento and Jennifer Wichers of the Netherlands to reach the final.

Only 19-year old silver world medallist Megumi Tsugane of Japan denied her the gold medal by a waza-ari.

London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Gibbons (-78kg) took a bronze for Britain in her comeback from injury. After beating Turkey’s Cagri Guzelsoy by ippon, she then lost in the same manner to Rika Takayama of Japan. 

But she bounced back to take bronze after beating Bulgarian Mariya Oryashkova by two shidos.

Lead coach Kate Howey said:”Both girls fought really well considering they have been out of competitions for various reasons and their match sharpness will only get better over the next few competitions. It is good that both of them now have points on the board towards qualification for Rio.”

The next competitons are: 

14. to 15. Feb 15 
European Judo Open Women
Oberwart, Austria  
14. to 15. Feb 15 
European Judo Open Men
Rome, Italy

Photo by Kostadin Andonov. Words by Donna Richardson.