McKenzie and Edwards fall to Japanese on Opening Day

Team GB Judoka Ashley McKenzie and Kelly Edwards both lost out to seeded Japanese opponents in their first contest during day one of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

McKenzie battled Japanese number two seed Hiroaki Hiraoka but went down relatively early by yuko and then waza-ari before being caught by a fantastic throw whilst pushing to bring the contest back into his favour.

Talking after his contest, Ashley said, “I am very proud to have been here to represent Great Britain, and it has been a long journey. I was up against the number two ranked fighter and if I had been able to get into the competition a bit more, then I might have beaten him.

“He is a tough opponent and hopefully he can finish off the day and show you how good he is.”

Talking about the future Ashley continued, “I am going to use this to go towards 2016. I tried my hardest, and I could not do any more.

“It is great to be an Olympian and represent Great Britain, but I want to better myself. Now I will start from step one again, prove I can get back into the squad and go to 2016.

“I’ve had a lot of supporters and I thank them and hopefully they can follow me to 2016.”

Kelly Edwards put in a valiant performance with huge support from the home crowd against 2nd seed and former World Champion Tomoko Fukumi, however she succumbed to be held down for ippon after a battling start.

“She is a top player, but it is still disappointing,” said the Briton.

“The atmosphere here was electric. I have never heard a crowd like that, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“It was invaluable experience, I am only 21 and it will put me in great stead for the Europeans and World Championships up to Brazil in 2016 and for maybe two more Olympic Games after that.”

“I have had a little taste of what the Olympics is like now, and it only motivates me more, gives me that bit of drive, which will definitely spur me on.”