Day one of the Paris Grand Slam saw three British Judoka take to the mat in what is regarded by many as one of the highlights of the judo calendar.
In the battle for Olympic qualification in the -63kg category, Lubjana Piovesana and Lucy Renshall were both in action today looking to secure additional qualification points in their bid to be the sole British representative at the summer Games in Tokyo.
Piovesana was making her Paris debut following her 7th place finish at the Masters at the end of 2019. Drawn in Pool B, Piovesana faced a familiar opponent in the first round, former British Judo Junior athlete, Prisca Awiti-Alcaraz (MEX). Awiti-Alcaraz unfortunately amassed three shidos, meaning Piovesana progressed to the second round.
Piovesana defeated Kiyomi Watanabe (PHI) in round two to set up a third-round match against 2019 Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist, Andreja Leski (SLO).
Piovesana started the contest strongly and was a score up after just 5 seconds. Unfortunately, Piovesana amassed three shidos, handing victory to Leski who later progressed to win the Pool and book her place in the semi-finals.
Renshall, who finished in 5th place at the 2017 and 2018 Paris Grand Slams and 7th in 2019, was drawn in Pool C. Following an opening round bye, she faced Estefania Garcia (ECU) in the second round.
Renshall defeated Garcia to set up a third-round match against 2019 Masters bronze medallist Masako Doi (JPN).
Unfortunately, despite starting the contest strongly, Renshall was defeated by the vastly experienced Doi.
Following an opening round bye, Ashley McKenzie (-60kg) was defeated in the second round by Fraj Dhouibi (TUN).
Speaking after the opening day performances, British Judo Performance Director, Nigel Donohue said: “There is always a level of disappointment when we don’t have fighters in the final block, but we can take some positives from today and also consider how we improve going forwards. For now though, we have to reset and be focussed on tomorrow’s competition.”
Day 2: Sunday 9th
Sally Conway (-70kg) enjoyed a golden start to 2020, topping the podium at the Tel Aviv Grand Prix. The 2018 Paris Grand Slam gold medallist, and second seed, has an opening round bye and will face the winner of the opening round match between Oula Dahouk (IRT) and Demos Memneloum (CHA).
Gemma Howell (-70kg) claimed two Grand Slam bronze medals in 2019 in Baku and Brasilia in addition to back to back gold medals at the Budapest and Zagreb Grand Prix’s.
Howell has been drawn in Pool A and will face the 2017 European Youth Olympic Festival bronze medallist, Lea Adam-Sendra (AND) in the opening round.
Sarah Adlington (+78kg) had a 5th place finish at the Marrakesh Grand Prix before 7th place finishes at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam and the European Games in 2019. The 2019 Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist has an opening round bye and will face home athlete, and 2019 European Junior Champion, Lea Fontaine (FRA) in the second round.
Competition starts at 07:30am GMT on Sunday with final block starting at 16:00 GMT.
Competition will be live streamed via live.ijf.org and you can follow the @BritishJudo social media pages for results over the weekend.
The Paris Grand Slam will also be featured on the BBC Sport website and digital platforms: BBC Sport app, Connected TV and iPlayer.