Jodie Myers secured a gold medal for Great Britain at the Junior European Judo Championships today in Bucharest writes Aaron Fowler.
The Commonwealth Games silver medallist was in fine form defeating Milica Sabic of Serbia, Yelyzaveta Kalanina of Ukraine and Anna Zalecna of Poland on her way to the final of the +78kg category.
The 19 year-old celebrated with a little dance as she left the mat after beating Michelle Goschin of Germany in the final by a yuko to become European Champion.
After her victory, Myers originally from Moreton, the Wirrall, who now lives and trains at the British Judo Centre of Excellence in Walsall, said: “I went in there with the mentality that this was just another European Cup and I didn’t want to put myself under any pressure.
“I was relaxed and I feel that the last few weeks of training hard and digging down have really pulled off. I was so pleased I have won.”
Her home club is S.K.K in Merseyside.
GB junior coach, Jamie Johnson said: “It is brilliant to see Jodie become Junior European Champion, we have not had a Junior European Champion for many years so it is great for British Judo.
“She has really come a long way in the last 7 weeks of training at The Centre of Excellence. Her fitness has improved massively and she didn’t break under pressure.
“She knows that she is up there with the best and she has the Junior European Open in Glasgow next and then she will go on to the Junior Worlds.”
Elsewhere Ebony Drysdale-Daley secured fifth place in the -70kg category after losing on penalties to Aleksandra Samardzic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the fight for the Bronze medal. The 19-year-old who is a good friend of Jodie Myers also trains at the Centre of Excellence. She also put in some impressive performances beating Alina Lengweiler of Switzerland and Patricija Brolih of Slovenia before being knocked out of the competition.
In the same category, fellow Brit Jemima Duxberry was eliminated early after she lost to Brolih by ippon. Lucy Renshall also secured fifth place after losing by waza-ari against Diana Dzhigaros of Russia in the Bronze medal match in the -63kg class.
After the tournament Renshall said: “I am really upset narrowly missing out on a medal here all from a little mistake in my game plan I made but I’m happy to take a placing.
“Now in the five weeks lead to Junior Worlds I will work on what I did wrong today and hopefully the medal will come there.”
Commonwealth bronze medallist Katie Jemima Yeats-Brown defeated Sabina Merklova of Czech Republic, with a waza-ari followed by a 15-second hold down for ippon. Yeats-Brown was then eliminated from the -63kg weight division after being defeated by Elisavet Teltsidou of Greece by ippon.
Britain’s only male competitor of the day, George Smith was eliminated early after losing by ippon to Firudin Dadashov of Azerbaijan in the -90kg category.
Meanwhile on Friday in Bucharest, Britain’s Bekky Livesey secured fifth place after she lost by ippon to Dewy Karthaus of the Netherlands in a fight for bronze in the -57kg category. Scotsman Neil Macdonald also achieved a respectable position on Friday, finishing seventh in the men’s -60kg category after losing by Waza-ari to Daniel Ben David of Israel.
Fellow Brit Sam Hall, who was competing in the same category, was knocked out of the competition after being defeated by waza-ari by Ivane Javakhishvili of Georgia.
Youngster Eric Ham put in a good performance to beat Rok Plesnik of Slovenia by one shido before being eliminated from the men’s -66kg category after losing by ippon to Portugal’s Joao Crisostomo.
The young squad spent the 10 weeks leading up to the competition training at the British Judo centre of excellence in Walsall. The training has involved the use of video analysis and the young judoka’s appear to be benefitting from the use of the outstanding training facilities.
Johnson was delighted with the squad’s performance and said: “I am proud of all the players, it is great that Lucy Renshall, Ebony Drysdale-Daley and Neil MacDonald who also placed.
“It was a shame that Bekky got injured, she would have medalled otherwise. I would like to say a big well done to everyone.”