Sally Conway Finishes Fifth at Abu Dhabi Grand Slam

Sally Conway couldn’t find a way past Germany’s Giovanna Scoccimarro in the Bronze medal contest to finish Fifth on the second day of competition at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam.

There was a lot of power on display in the bronze medal contest with Scoccimarro coming into the contest more as it went on. A big osoto-gari from the German proved to be the difference between the two with Conway unable to respond with means she leaves Abu Dhabi in fifth place.

Conway received a bye in the opening stage of the competition resulting in a second round match-up against China’s Hongyan Liu. Although Liu possessed a distinct height advantage over Conway, this did not disrupt the British athlete’s focus. A regulation newaza victory to build momentum in the early rounds!

World No.6 Sanne Van Dijke awaited Conway in the Quarter Finals and the British athlete loves competing against Van Dijke with a 2-0 record which she stretched further today with a lovely uchi-mata the difference between the two fighters on the mat.

Conway left an opening in the semi final against Miriam Butkereit from Germany and the World No.30 took full advantage to hold Conway down for the count and drop her into the Bronze medal contest.

Alice Schlesinger came into today’s competition having competed just five times on the mat over the course of 2018 due to injuries. She showed no signs of rust early on as she brushed aside America’s Hannah Martin. Heavy pressure from Schlesinger forced the American to pick up shidos in increasing fashion before a third finished the contest.

Schlesinger came up against Juul Franssen in the Quarter Finals and the World No.4 possessed a 4-2 head-to-head advantage so Schlesinger was out to reduce that deficit, but it was Franssen who registered victory again – a hard fought contest settled by a late second waza-ari from Franssen. It was a close opening minute and Schlesinger could count herself unlucky that the waza-ari was not scored ippon. She couldn’t quite find the drive for the rotation and Franssen made her pay with waza-ari of her own with just 20 seconds remaining on the clock. It took the contest to Golden Score but the Dutch fighter found another score early on to drop Schlesinger into the repechage.

The repechage was over too quickly for Schlesinger’s liking though as her Australian opponent, Katharine Haecker spotted an opening early on and forced Schlesinger to submit which meant a seventh place finish for the Brit.

Lubjana Piovesana started the day in fine form as she battled past Spain’s Isabel Puche in the opening round of the -63kg competition. It was a short contest to warm up the Brit as she showed growing experience to bide her time against her opponent before striking. Her attack was originally scored as a waza-ari before being upgraded to ippon upon review.

It was a difficult draw on paper for Piovesana though, but she has proved time and time again that seedings mean nothing. It wasn’t to be on this occasion as she came up against Slovena’s Andreja Leski in the second. In an otherwise tight contest, Leski was able to register waza-ari less than a minute remaining on the clock to give the World No.7 victory and eliminate Piovesana.

Tune in tomorrow to see if Natalie Powell (-78kg) and Max Stewart (-90kg) can add to Chelsie Giles’ bronze medal contest win yesterday, with the action kicking off at 7:00pm tomorrow morning.