Portugal final step on road to 2016 Rio Paralympics

Four British judoka will be stepping onto the mat this weekend as the 2015 IBSA European Judo Championships in Odivelas, Portugal on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 November.

The European Championships are the final qualifying event for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games and three of the team are in strong qualifying positions going into the competition.

Two-time Paralympian Sam Ingram (-90kg) is by far the most experienced member of the team and goes into the competition on Saturday as defending champion having won the last two European Championships.

A third European title would set him in good stead for the Rio 2016, where he hopes to improve upon silver from London 2012 and bronze from Beijing 2008. Georgia’s Zviad Gogotchuri, who beat Ingram in the World Games final earlier this year, will also be one to watch.

In the -70kg category Crawley’s Natalie Greenhough will also be stepping on the mat on Saturday as she hopes to take her first major championship medal at senior level having previously won gold at the 2013 Junior World Games in Eger, Hungary. In 2015 Greenhough has won bronze at the Brazil Grand Prix and came fifth at the World Cup in Hungary.

On Friday Chris Skelley (-100kg) will aiming to improve on his fifth at the last European Championships in 2013 and he will take real confidence from his gold at the Brazil Grand Prix and bronze at the World Games, just six weeks after dislocating his hip.

Grimsby Judo Club’s Jack Hodgson will also be in action on Friday. The 19 year old has enjoyed an impressive first year on the circuit in the +100kg category winning silver at the World Games in Korea, silver at the Brazil Grand Prix and bronze at the World Cup in Hungary.

The competition will be streamed live on http://www.randori.pt/TV/ from 10.30am local time each day and you can follow @BritishJudo on Twitter for live updates and behind the scenes photos.