Great Britain’s silverware collection continues in South America

Great Britain’s judo athletes claimed another nine medals at the Pan American Open in Buenos Aires, as they ended their self-funded tour there with nine podium finishes as they almost doubled Monday and Tuesday’s haul in Uruguay.

Apart from Brazil, Great Britain was the only other country to gain more medals overall in both competitions, amassing 19 in total to come second in the medal table. Argentina, the host nation came tenth.

In the -78kg women’s category, Caroline Kinnane made a 150-mile journey from Montevideo to finally claim the scalp of Samantha Soares for gold in a re-match of Tuesday’s final where she took silver.

I’m delighted with my result especially having beaten the Brazilian who beat me the week before in the final,” she said.

Olympian Euan Burton claimed one of GB’s seven silver medals for a double to match his mid-week result. He shared in silver success with Owen Livesey (-81kg) and Louise Renicks (-52kg).

Meanwhile, Megan Fletcher (-70kg) and Sarah Clark (-63kg), added a silver to their haul having both won silver earlier in the week.

There were more silver medals for Nathon Burns (-66kg), who did the Uruguay and Argentina double, and for Gary Hall (-90kg) who joined for Argentina only.

And it was another bronze for Matthew Purssey (-90kg) who took victory in an all-British match against Andrew Burns. Tuesday, Purssey faced off his team-mate Michael Horley on his way to secure bronze against Frenchman Ludovic Gobert.

Northern Ireland (NI) Open

The Northern Ireland (NI) Open also took place over the weekend and saw hundreds of competitors competing at Junior, Senior, Masters, Minor, Pre-Cadet and Cadet level.

Some of the highlights were Olympic silver medallist Gemma Gibbons making her comeback from injury to claim gold in the women’s -78kg class, while fellow Olympian Sophie Cox took -63kg gold.

Neil MacDonald did the junior and senior double at -60kg, beating Isaac Gagin and Brandon Dodge respectively.

Valentino Volante claimed dual honours at +100kg junior and senior level, repeating the winning gold combination he displayed at the English Open. He also took junior gold and senior bronze at the Scottish Open at the start of the year. 

Jodie Caller gained -57kg gold to follow her recent English Open gold and silver combination.

Eric Ham continued his fine form by winning -66kg junior gold to secure three medals in as many weeks and cement his status as number one junior in his class. English Open and bronze in Portugal.

Stuart McWatt took the -73kg senior title to add to his Scottish Open gold earlier in the year and at the first cadet European cup of the year in Croatia.

Meanwhile, British Junior Champion Connor Ireland secured the senior -73kg title and improved vastly on last weekend’s fifth-place finish in Portugal.

A full list of medallists from NI can be found here:

Words by Donna Richardson