Great Britain basks in bronze glory on the road to Rio

It was bronze success all round this weekend as Great Britain’s judoka secured five medals overall in Spain and Austria in the first test for some of the athletes on the route to Rio.

Nekoda Davis (-57kg), Gary Hall (-90kg) and Megan Fletcher (-70kg)all stepped onto the rostrum at the European Open for seniors in Madrid in the first test of the new Olympic cycle.

Lulu Piovesana and Katie-Jemima Yeats Brown boosted the medal tally at the European Cup for Juniors in Leibnitz with both -63kg girls taking bronze.

In Spain Nekoda Davis and Megan Fletcher (-70kg) boosted the GB medal tally in the Senior European Open. She started strong with an ippon against Lehikoinen Satu of Finland and edged through the next two rounds on penalties where she beat the Olympic silver medallist Corina Oana Caprioriu and Ying Zhou of China.

However, her luck briefly ran out when she met Helene Receveaux of France, but she came back in the bronze medal match to win against Team GB team-mate Connie Ramsay.

Fletcher executed an ippon against Sebastian Tomas Andrea of Spain, but was then briefly defeated by Giulia Cantoni of Italy and then came back in the repechage against Karine Berger of France to step up onto the rostrum.

Hall scored four ippons against Nicolas Brisson of France, Milan Randl of Slovakia and Patryk Ciechomski of Poland and Axyl Clerget of France, but his third round defeat by Alexander Roslyakov of Russia denied him a higher accolade.

In Austria, Yeats Brown made a comeback from injury to gain another bronze medal for Britain. She started strongly with a hat-trick of ippons in the first three rounds before losing the fourth round. She bounced back in the repechage with another ippon to set herself up for a bronze medal match against Lizzy Gervers, in which she also scored an ippon.

Gary Hall on the medal rostrum today

Piovesana, who recently stepped up to junior level from Cadets triumphed early against a Serbian opponent and then edged through to the second round on penalties.

Women’s lead coach Kate Howey said: “It is good to see some strong performances from Nekoda and Megan in Spain and of course Gary. All these results will count towards qualification for Rio (50 per cent this year and 100 percent for next year). Of course it is also great preparation for the players for the Commonwealths.”She bounced back in repechage with an ippon and won the bronze contest on penalties against home judoka Michaela Polleres.

Words by Donna Richardson.