Nekoda Smythe-Davis claimed a Fifth place finish on the opening day of the Cancun Grand Prix on the mat in Mexico in the early hours of Saturday morning.
It was a difficult Bronze medal contest against Israel’s Timna Nelson Levy as she got caught via osoto-gari to register ippon. Smythe-Davis entered the contest with a 2-0 head to head record against Nelson Levy with her previous victory coming in the Paris Grand Slam earlier this year.
It was a very physical contest as Nelson Levy effectively worked Smythe-Davis around the mat. The Brit took the lead at the halfway stage of the contest with her own osoto-gari, but just as she was looking to defend the lead in the final minutes, she left herself vulnerable to an attack from Nelson Levy which ended the contest.
She opened her account against America’s World No.57 Amelia Fulgentes in the second round following a bye in the opening stage. It was a comfortable win for the Brit as she kept the American at arms length. Smythe-Davis tried to transition into newaza numerous times throughout the contest before finally securing a hold at third attempt to secure her progression.
A tricky Quarter Final lay in wait against Romania’s World No.37 Loredana Ohai. It took Smythe-Davis a couple of minutes to become accustomed to Ohai’s style, particularly her long legs, which almost caught Smythe-Davis on a number of occasions. The contest progressed through to Golden Score before the Brit won it via osoto-gari.
Olympic Champion Rafaela Silva (BRA) lay in wait in the semi finals and it promised to be an exciting contest with both fighters having won one fight each before today. It was the Brazilian though who was victorious in this one thought with a single waza-ari settling the contest, dropping Smythe-Davis into the bronze medal contest.
Kelly Staddon won her opening contest of the -48kg competition with an accomplished win against Germany’s Mira Ulrich. Her opponent could not deal with Staddon’s work rate and the young Brit was able to claim the ippon victory.
It was a tight second round contest against Spain’s Julia Figueroa in which neither fighter could be separated in the opening minutes, before Figueroa pinned Staddon to the mat.
Kim Renicks (-48kg) and Bekky Livesey (-57kg) both suffered early exits in their respective weight categories. Renicks came up against World No.22 Katharina Menz (GER) in a topsy-turvy opening contest that went all the way to Golden Score. With a minute on the clock, Menz spotted an opening and registered a waza-ari via uchi-gari to claim the win.
Livesey could not take advantage of the occasions that she was able to pull American Leilani Akiyama to the mat in the opening round. The American was then able to register waza-ari with an arm-bar takedown. Livesey could not escape from the resulting pin down to exit the competition.