Lucy Renshall displayed a composed day of judo on the mat throughout the second day of the Zagreb Grand Prix as she claimed a deserved bronze medal.
It was her first Grand Prix appearance of 2017 following a long injury lay off and in just her third competition back, she has claimed a first Grand Prix medal since Qingdao back in November 2016. The medal is GB Judo’s second of the Zagreb Grand Prix following Nekoda Smythe-Davis’s silver medal won yesterday.
Renshall (-63kg) came up against Germany’s Lea Reimann in the bronze medal contest and scored with a waza-ari in the opening minute of the contest and it was enough to win the contest. The German tried numerous times to counter attack and register a score but Renshall displayed solid defence throughout and had enough to see the clock out and secure the win.
She started the day in fine fashion with an ippon victory over Croatia’s Ana Kokeza as she forced her opponent to submit following a nicely executed arm lock. This set up a Quarter Final against Anriquelis Barrios from Venezuela. The contest went the distance as Golden Score was needed to separate the two. Sustained pressure from Renshall forced Barrios to pick a shido and progress. A semi final defeat to Japan’s Megumi Tsugane dropped her into the bronze medal contest but she recovered well to win the medal.
Another Grand Prix comeback in the form of Stuart McWatt (-81kg) did not end with a medal but he can hold his head high after placing 7th. McWatt made his return to the mat at the Junior European Championships earlier this month in which he helped the Men’s squad win the bronze medal in the Team event.
His opening two fights followed a similar pattern after McWatt secured early waza-ari scores over his opponents, Vincius Panini (BRA) and Alpha Djalo (FRA) respectively. He came up against World No.5 Hungarian Attila Ungvari in the quarter final and again took an early lead. It was the Hungarian that grew stronger as the contest drew to a close and it took every ounce of experience to overcome McWatt. A late ippon finish with five second left on the clock condemned him to the repechage.
He came up against Dominik Druzeta from Croatia and after a gruelling 3:30 minutes, Druzeta forced McWatt to the mat and made a perfect transition into newaza, forcing him to submit via an arm lock. A seventh place return for McWatt on his return to Grand Prix competition.
Amy Livesey (-63kg) also secured a 7th placed finish in Zagreb. Following a bye in the first round of the competition, she was drawn against Stefania Dobre from Romania, but her opponent could not fight due to an injury picked up. This progressed Livesey through to the Quarter Finals where she would come up against Japan’s Megumi Tsugane.
The Quarter Final would go all of the way to Golden Score as neither athlete could be separated. Livesey would eventually pick up a shido which dropped her into the repechage. This set up a contest with Anriquelis Barrios, who Renshall defeated earlier in the day. Unfortunately Livesey could not mirror Renshall’s win and she succumbed to Barrios to leave her in 7th place overall.
There were first round exits for both Aaron Turner (-73kg) and Owen Livesey (-81kg) in Croatia. Turner came up against Brazilian Eduardo Barbosa in the first round a waza-ari was enough to separate the athletes in regulation to eliminate Turner at the first hurdle. Livesey would suffer a similar fate with an ippon defeat to France’s Jonathan Allardon. Livesey looked comfortable in the opening stages and took the lead before Allardon hit back with a waza-ari and ippon finish with just 5 seconds left on the clock.