The second day of the World Judo Championships saw two British judoka in action at the Alau Ice Palace in Astana. Both players, Kelly EDWARDS (-52kg) and Colin OATES (-66kg), put in some incredible effort but both bowed out in the preliminary stage.
Soon after the start of the tournament, Oates was on the mat and was ready to face Kemal AMANOV (TKM) where the British fighter secured a well controlled ne-waza action to hold down his opponent for the total of twenty seconds. The next round soon saw him back on the tatami, this time to face Andraz JEREB (SLO). There he again shined with his outstanding ne-waza skills and in a repeat of his previous contest, Oates won by ippon after a well executed osei-komi-waza. Oates was a step away from reaching the quarter-final stage, with home favourite Yeldos ZHUMAKANOV (KAZ) standing in his way. Oates’s opponent flew in with a drop-seoinage to secure another Kazakh representative in the final block this afternoon.
Elite Performance Coach, Jean-Paul Bell said: “I was happy with his preparation and the way he was fighting. He got caught with a nice piece of judo and at such an event as the World Championships these things happen and once you get caught it’s all over. I am a little bit disappointed for him not being able to get into the final block and of course he will be disappointed too, but we know that we have to look at the bigger picture which is the Olympic Games next year”.
Kelly Edwards dominated her opponent, IJF Masters bronze medallist, Odette GIUFFRIDA (ITA) for more than half of the contest time, yet the first penalty was given to her by the referee. This proved the narrow difference which the Italian sat on to take a step towards the next round. Giuffrida then battled through to the semi-final stage to book her spot in the medal contests.
Double Olympic medallist and Elite Performance Coach Kate Howey expressed her thoughts after the contest: “Kelly had a tough first fight. The Italian has medalled quite a lot on the IJF tour. I think the fight went well and it was very much head to head. Kelly was absolutely dominating the first half of the contest and by the end it was too close to call. Giving a shido only to Kelly I think was a little too harsh. In my head it was even but the referee’s thoughts were different.”
Tomorrow, all eyes will be on 2015 Zagrab Grand Prix winner, Nekoda DAVIS as she battles her way to the top in the -57kg category. Her first contest will be against Ivelina ILIEVA (BUL). The tournament will begin at 06:00 (GMT).