Jan Gosiewski flies the flag for GB with extra support from Poland at the World Championships

Polish judo fans will have an extra name to cheer for at the World Championships in Rio today in the shape of British fighter Jan Gosiewski on the third day of the competition.

Born in Britain, Gosiewski, 25, was raised in Gdansk before returning to England aged 16 where he became a member of the Team Bath Judo Club.

Now, he is heading to his first World Championships and he is confident about getting amongst the medals in the -73kg division.

“I’m very excited and I feel quite confident because I’ve done well in a few of the World Cup events and I’ve been quite consistent,” he said.

“I’ve won silver and bronze medals in World Cups this year and been regularly in the medal fights, so although it is my first World Championships, I feel I can fight for medals.

“I will know quite a few of my opponents as the circuit is quite small so I have fought most of them before and I know what I need to do.”

Gosiewski’s father is English and his Polish heritage comes from his grandfather.

“I grew up in Poland but never actually had a Polish passport or Polish citizenship because I left at 16 to come back to England,” he continued.

“It is a slight misconception that I am fully Polish but I obviously have very close ties to the country and while it will be the British flag raised if I win a medal, I know it will be popular in Poland too, especially for all the people there who know me.

That fact was evident at the European Open in Warsaw when Gosiewski won a bronze medal for Britain.

“It was my first World Cup medal, which was a major mental barrier to overcome, and it was a particularly strong field on that occasion, so it was a very significant result for me,” he said.

“The support I got on that day was phenomenal, none of the Polish guys made it to the medal
fights, so the home crowd all got behind me and adopted me as their fighter, it was brilliant.”

“I hope I will both sets of fans cheering for me again in Rio but it will be interesting if I face a Polish fighter.

“One of my best friends on the circuit is Tomasz Adamiec and I’ve fought him twice in tournaments in the past.

“Thankfully, I’ve beaten him twice but it’s always difficult fighting a close friend, but you just have to put that behind you and I’m sure I will and I hope I will end the event with a medal.”

In his first draw today Gosiewski will face the current twice-World silver and silver World Masters medalist Dex Elmont, of the Netherlands.

Gosiewksi will meet the 29-year old London 2012 Olympian who placed fifth in the Games in pool D of the first round in the -73kg category for men.

Also fighting today in her debut to the world stage at senior level is 20-year-old Nekoda Davis who will face World bronze medallist Hedvig Karakas of Hungary, who also placed fifth at London 2012, in her first round bout.

Davis has achieved success at junior level at her -57kg womens weight category, with several world cups under her belt. In her debut world cup for seniors in Spain she took bronze.

Davis is also fighting in pool D, and the competition kicks off at 2pm so expect them both to be in action after 3pm.

Words by John Smith. Images by Mike Varey.