Chelsie Giles added World Championship silver to the European gold she won earlier this year on the second day of the World Championships.
Coventry Judo Club’s Giles became the first GB judoka to win silver following Nekoda Davis in 2018.
Giles entered as 3rd seed, and following an opening round bye, defeated Liping Liu (CHN) in round two. Giles trusted her superior strength on the ground in newaza to pin her opponent for the mandatory 20-seconds.
Giles survived an early scare in her round 3 contest against Katelyn Jarrell (USA) but again trusted in her newaza, transitioning from sangaku into a 20-second hold down to progress to the Quarter-Finals.
Giles booked her place in the Semi-Finals with victory over Aleksandra Kaleta (POL). As the contest neared the halfway point, Giles registered a waza-ari courtesy of an uchi-mata, before registering another uchi-mata to book her place in the Semi-Finals.
Tokyo -48kg Olympic Champion Distria Krasniqi (KOS) stood between Giles and a place in the World Championship final.
The physical stature between the two judoka could not be any different, Krasniqi, short in stature and physically very strong against the tall rangy figure of Giles.
Krasniqi started the strongest and had a waza-ari score waved off in the opening 30-seconds. Giles defended well and waited for an opportunity to attack.
The final 30-seconds of the mandatory 4-minute contest saw Giles capitalise on a Krasniqi mistake and she got to work on the ground in newaza, but Krasniqi defended well to take the contest to Golden Score.
Giles again forced her opponent to the ground where she was able to pin her in newaza for a waza-ari score and secure herself a medal.
Current -52kg Olympic Champion and two-time World Champion Uta Abe (JPN) stood between Giles and the world title.
Abe registered a waza-ari score at the midway point of the contest and defended well in the latter stages when Giles looked to register a score of her own.
Unfortunately for Giles she was unable to register a winning score or force the contest to Golden Score, but the result saw her claim the silver medal to add to the European gold she won in Sofia earlier this year and the Olympic bronze in Tokyo.
Reflecting on the day, Giles said: “I am so happy to be a World medallist. It feels like a dream. I started the day a bit slow but as the competition progressed my confidence grew, and my performances got better and better.”
“To face two Olympic champions along the way shows how strong the field was today, Thank you to my coaches and team I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Tomorrow Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Acelya Toprak (Darren Hawney & Fitzroy Davies; Metro Judo Club & Relentless Judo) makes her senior World Championship debut. Toprak has been drawn in Pool D and will face Pauline Starke (GER) in the opening round. The pair last met back in 2017 in the final of the Leibnitz Junior European Cup where Toprak won gold.
Preliminary Round action starts at 6:00am with Final Block commencing at 13:00.
You can watch all the action from the World Championships LIVE at live.ijf.org each day.