Jamal Petgrave added a second medal to the GB Judo total at the 2017 Junior European Championships in Maribor on Saturday 16 September as he won bronze.
The -90kg judoka had enjoyed a good year leading into the Junior Europeans including gold medals at the Bremen International Masters and the Berlin Junior European Cup.
The Westcroft judoka had a bye into the second round where he faced Israel’s Itay Golan. Petgrave made a solid start going ahead by waza-ari before going behind as Golan scored two waza-ari in quick succession.
The British judoka came back though and threw Golan for waza-ari before transitioning in newaza and finished the contest by osaekomi.
In the quarter-finals he was up against 2016 Junior European bronze medallist Aurelien Diesse (FRA) and it was the French fighter who came out on top, throwing Petgrave for ippon.
Dropping into the repechage final, the British judoka had second seed Vitalii Shepel (UKR) to get through if he wanted to fight for bronze.
Petgrave took the early lead, countering Shepel for waza-ari. The Ukrainian judoka wasn’t about to go away however and went in for a big attack.
Petgrave did well to defend it and spotted the opportunity to finish the contest on the ground, which he did with another ippon win by osaekomi.
Top seed Jakub Ozimek (POL) would be Petgrave’s opponent for the bronze medal and the Polish judoka had the rub of the green early on from the officials.
The Polish judoka had the better attack rate but the majority were not particularly threatening. However, it was the British judoka who found himself two shidos down going into golden score.
Ozimek was clearly fatigued though and the British judoka kept up the pressure as the referee finally ran out of patience with Ozimek and two shidos in quick succession levelled things up. Eventually the pressure told and another weak drop attack from Ozimek resulted in a third and final shido, giving Petgrave the win.
Speaking after picking up his medal, Jamal said:
“I felt pressure coming into the event due to picking up a number of medals this year but I decided to focus on my performance rather than the result.
“It was a tough day of fighting as it was Europeans so everyone came ready and fit, meaning I had to dig deep for my victories.
“To finish the day with a bronze is a brilliant feeling because at the beginning of this season I was just coming back from having six months out due to an ankle injury so it shows my hard work paid off.”
GB Elite Performance Coach – Junior Programme Lead Matt Purssey said:
“I am very proud of how Jamal, and the rest of the team, performed. He came into the event as one of the favourites, after winning Berlin and Bremen, and showed great character in dealing with that pressure. He did this by focusing on his best performance in each exchange of every match.
“The bronze medal match was very frustrating, with his Polish opponent trying to steal the fight through negative tactics, but Jamal dug deep, displayed great resilience & composure & rightly won in golden score.
“We have worked hard as a team to prepare for this event & everyone, including the members of our team at home (Scott, Lele & Kelly Staddon), have contributed to the team winning two medals & two fifth places. Bring on the team event tomorrow!”
There was also a fifth place finish for Lubjana Piovesana at -63kg as she lost a tactical contest to Emilia Kanerva (FIN) after picking up a shido in golden score.
The British judoka was the more positive throughout but still found herself a shido down going into golden score for a false attack. Early on in golden score, Piovesana made the first real attack but was penalised and missed out on a bronze medal.
She had started the day with a solid win over Greece’s Agneta Mina Ricken with a single waza-ari proving more than enough. In the quarter-finals she was too good for Yasmine Horlaville (FRA) with two waza-aris seeing her into the semi-finals.
There she took on defending champion Sanne Vermeer (NED) and made a good start, being close to scoring in both tachiwaza and newaza. As the contest went on however the Dutch judoka grew into it and in the dying seconds she took the lead by waza-ari leaving Piovesana no time to come back.
James Hayes (-81kg) made a good start to his Junior European Championship debut throwing his opponent Almin Sljivo (BIH) three times, the third time for ippon. Going into the second round he took on Italy’s Christian Parlati.
The Italian executed a nice turnover and held Hayes down for ippon. Parlati would go on to win bronze by the end of the day.
There were first contest exits for Shelley Ludford (-70kg) and Wesley Greenidge (+100kg). Ludford lost by a waza-ari to Renata Lorinc (HUN) while Greenidge lost to Georgia’s Gela Zaalishvili.
GB Judo will be back in action on Sunday 17 September for the team event. The Women’s team will face Italy in the first round with the winner taking on Germany. The Men’s team will have Israel with the winner taking on Russia or Poland.
Competition starts at 1000 (10am) UK Time with live streaming via britishjudo.org.uk and eju.net. Follow @BritishJudo on Twitter for all the updates and build-up