As parts of the UK woke up to snow today, it was raining medals for GB Judo at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam.
GB Judo were looking to build on the two medals won on the opening day by Chelsie Giles and Sam Hall as Lucy Renshall, Kelly Petersen-Pollard, Lachlan Moorhead and Daniel Powell took to the tatami in Abu Dhabi.
Following a silver medal at the Paris Grand Slam and gold at the Baku Grand Slam, Renshall entered Abu Dhabi in the form of her life.
Entering the competition seeded 2nd, Renshall overcame a potentially tough second round contest against Kamila Badurova (RUS), following an opening round bye.
A Quarter-Final victory over Gili Sharir (ISR) via an arm lock in Golden Score meant Renshall topped her Pool.
In the Semi-Final Renshall found herself with 2 shidos as the contest entered Golden Score. In the first exchange Renshall threw Katharina Haecker (AUS) for waza-ari score and book her place in the final.
Renshall went a waza-ari score down at the half-way point of the Final contest to 2x World Junior Champion, Sanne Vermeer (NED), before evening the score in the final 15 seconds, a change of direction resulting in a waza-ari score to force Golden Score. Renshall piled on the pressure with two strong attacks back-to-back which resulted in a second waza-ari score being awarded to the Brit, ending the contest, and ensuring she would return to the top step of a Grand Slam podium for the third time in 2021.
Renshall was quick to acknowledge the support of her coach following her third Grand Slam gold medal in 2021: “I’m really happy taking home the gold medal today and beating some good girls along the way. It’s a great way to finish off the year!
“Thank you to British Judo, Jamie and UK Sport for supporting me at this event and all year.”
Kelly Petersen-Pollard has had a fantastic first year in the senior ranks, picking up a silver medal at the Zagreb Grand Prix, before winning her first Grand Slam medal in Baku, claiming bronze.
These results have seen Petersen-Pollard rocket up the IJF World Rankings to 22nd. Seeded 4th Petersen-Pollard had an opening round bye before defeating Taisia Kireeva (RUS) in Golden Score of their Quarter-Final contest.
Petersen-Pollard then faced top seed Giovanna Scoccimarro (GER) in her Semi-Final. The contest again entered Golden Score where Petersen-Pollard was unfortunately thrown for a waza-ari score, meaning she would progress to the bronze medal contest.
There was nothing between Petersen-Pollard and Enkhcimeg Tserendulam (MGL) as the bronze medal contest entered Golden Score. A third shido for Tserendulam resulted in her disqualification, meaning Petersen-Pollard won her second Grand Slam bronze medal in as many competitions.
2019 European Junior Championship bronze medallist Lachlan Moorhead defeated recent Yaounde and Dakar African Open bronze medallist Eoin Fleming (IRL) in Round 1, an arm lock forced Fleming to tap out which saw Moorhead progress to Round 2 to face Dorin Gotonoga (MDA).
A single waza-ari score was enough to see Moorhead defeat Gotonoga to face 2x Masters silver medallist Aslan Lappinagov (RUS). The contest entered Golden Score when the experienced Russian threw the young Brit for ippon score.
Moorhead progressed to the Repechage where faced Sergii Krivachach (UKR). The contest again entered Golden Score where the Ukranian was forced to attack as he was 2 shidos down. Moorhead defended well against the countless attacks before he was able to capitalise on a mistake and throw his opponent for waza-ari score and book his place in the bronze medal contest.
European U23 Championship bronze medallist Tim Gramkow (GER) stood between Moorhead and a bronze medal. Two waza-ari scores in consecutive exchanges saw Moorhead win his first IJF World Tour medal in what was only his second Grand Slam appearance of his career.
Moorhead was quick to reference the work of his training partners in helping him prepare for today: “I am very proud of my performance today at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, it is a fantastic way to end the international calendar year.
“The GB Judo men have been putting in the hard work during training and it is great to see that pay off. I am sure there will be plenty more to come in the New Year!”
Elsewhere, Daniel Powell was defeated in his opening round contest in the -73kg category. A single waza-ari score enough to see Powell eliminated against the 2019 Tel Aviv Grand Prix bronze medallist Artem Khomula (UKR).
Tomorrow is the final day of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam. Natalie Powell, Emma Reid and Jamal Petgrave will all be in action for GB Judo. Action gets underway at 9am (GMT) and you can watch all the action live on the British Judo homepage.