The second day of the Budapest Grand Prix seen the remaining eight British competitors in action. The Papp Laszlo Arena brought a 7th place to the overall team results which was delivered by Natalie Powell in the u78kg category.
Right at the start of the day, both, Owen Livesey and Tom Reed headed out to win their first contest in the u81kg category. Livesey than went onto the second round to face Julian Kermarrec (FRA) where the French was in favour to go through to the third round. Meanwhile, Reed met Alexander Wieczerzak (GER) where the German fighter had the final say. A weight category above, our duet, Frazer Chamberlain and Andrew Burns had an early exit. In the u100kg category, Baboukar Mane (SEN) sent out Philip Awiti-Alcaraz to end the day.
The ladies team started off with a more promising move, first a win from Gemma Gibbons against her Cuban opponent, Kaliema Antomarchi. This was the first time Gibbons managed to overcome Antomarchi, however in the second round, Hungarian favourite, Joo Abigel stopped her to going any further. Alongside Gibbons, Natalie Powell was also battling in the u78kg category where she first defeated Ivana Maranic (CRO) before narrowly missing out on the semis in a close contest against Marhinde Verkerk (NED). In the repechage contest, Mami Umeki (JPN) was to stop Masters silver medalist (2015), Powell, who than finished 7th place.
GB support coach, Euan Burton expressed his thoughts of the weekend: “Obviously as far as results go its not been a great weekend. Only Natalie made it to the quarter-finals which led to have one 7th place out of the whole team. There were a couple of promising performances ruined with few fairly simple mistakes by strategy. Lewis Keeble was pretty encouraging yesterday with couple of good wins. Today, if you look at Gemma, she beat the Cuban she never beat before, so if you look at the individual contest there are actually improvements and encouraging things but of course encouraging performance is one thing but you want to see results too. Hopefully when we have the full top team at the European Games in a couple of weeks time we will be able to see a couple of medals there too.”
This is not it yet as the big show is still on the way for our athletes, which will be the European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan. The European Games will be a two in one event as our athletes will have their eyes on a title of becoming European Judo Champion too. The individual contests will take placee on the 25th-27th of June whilst the team event will take place on the 28th of June.