Scotland Strike Six as England Top the Table in Day One of the Commonwealth Games

Home nations claimed 11 out of a possible 20 medals on the first day of judo at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

The event, which is taking place at the SECC Precinct across three days, started with the lightweights with action from the -60kg and -66kg men and -48kg, -52kg and -57kg women.

The hosts, Scotland won six medals of which two were gold, England claimed a total of four medals, including three golds, with Northern Ireland picking up a bronze.

Leading the way for Scotland were the Renicks sisters who both won gold in their respective weight categories.

In the -48kg category, Kim Renicks had the honour of winning Scotland’s first gold medal of their home games. She showed her ability on the ground, first strangling Cameroon athlete Marcelle Monabang before forcing Barbados athlete Onoh-Obasi Okey to submit with an armlock. In the final she faced Shushila Likmabam of India, a former Asian Under 17 Champion and beat her with a throw for ippon.

Kim Renicks commented: “It is absolutely brilliant. To be the first Scottish athlete to win gold is an incredible feeling. It is what I had been hoping for and what I have wanted for the last two years. The crowd have been behind all of us and it has been a great start to the Commonwealth Games.”

Sister Louise, opened in the -52kg category with a victory over Audree Francis-Methot of Canada, going ahead with an early waza-ari which was enough to win the contest. The semi-final saw her up against Indian Kalpana Thoudam, an IJF World Tour athlete. It was a close contest and only shidos separated the pair at the end of four minutes. In the final she faced England’s Kelly Edwards and edged a tight contest which saw Edwards receive hansoku-make after picking up her fourth shido with seconds to go and having to settle for silver. Northern Ireland’s Lisa Kearney also beat Canadian Audree Francis-Methot with an armlock by ippon to win bronze.

After the competition Louise said: “It’s been an amazing day for me and my sister. The atmosphere from the crowd is uplifting and I’ll be using this success as a platform for Rio 2016.”

Ashley McKenzie claimed -60kg gold for Team England. His route to the final saw him come up against the experience of Scotland’s John Buchanan who was making his return to the sport at the age of 38. McKenzie threw Buchanan for an early yuko and controlled the contest well to hold out for the remainder of the five minutes. He then went on to convincingly beat Neuso Sigauque of Mozambique with a big throw for ippon. The final put him up against Navjot Chana of India, a four-time national champion and the Indian took the lead with a waza-ari throw, however McKenzie quickly fought back with a waza-ari of his own and the three shidos picked up by his opponent separated the pair at the end in the Englishman’s favour. John Buchanan fought through the repechage and won bronze with a throw for ippon, 13 years after his World bronze medal.

Talking about what it means to be Commonwealth Champion Ashley McKenzie said: “I’m pleased to be here and would like to thank the people who have got me here: My coach Luke Preston, British Judo, Camberley Judo Club. Concentration is one of the things I struggle with but judo has helped me. I have made a lot of new friends here. Now the focus is on Rio and I will be at the World Championships in Chelyabinsk in a couple of weeks.”

Another gold medal was won by 21 year old Nekoda Davis. The Team England judoka first faced her Welsh counterpart Jade Lewis, throwing her for waza-ari and again for ippon. This set up a tough semi-final against Canada’s World Cadet Champion Jessica Klimkait. The scores remained level throughout and it was only a shido deep into golden score that won Davis the place in the final. She was up against Scotland’s Stephanie Inglis in the -57kg final and proved too strong, throwing the Scot before transitioning to a hold down to win and resign Inglis to silver. Scotland’s Connie Ramsay bounced back from a quarter-final defeat against Klimkait to beat Wales’ Kirsty Powell and Cameroon’s Paule Sitcheping to win bronze.

After receiving her gold medal Davis said: “I am delighted to win. I decided losing was not an option and this led to me getting here today. (In the final) It’s funny because I don’t do groundwork but I kept squeezing on.”

England also won gold with Colin Oates in the -66kg category. He was in fine form on the ground, first pinning Malaysia’s Mohd Farhan Uzair Mohd Fikri for ippon before repeating the feat against India’s Manjeet Nandal. The semi-final put him up against Scotland’s James Millar – a familiar training partner and close friend of Oates. The contest started tightly but Oates managed to throw the Scotsman for waza-ari and transitioned into a hold down to score ippon. He proved too strong in the final for Cypriot Andreas Krassas, throwing him for yuko before applying an armlock and forcing his opponent to submit. Millar bounced back in the bronze medal contest throwing Mathews Punza of Zambia to win the medal.

Colin Oates commented on his success saying: “We don’t get to fight Commonwealth athletes very often. I had one gameplan – which was to get them to the deck, armlock them because it is a bit safer than just trying to turn them for a big attack. 

“The crowd here are great. I’ve been training up in Scotland for the last 18 months so to win it here is an amazing feeling. I came here to deliver and I won a gold medal.

“I have a great support around me. Around nine members of my family all came up from Norfolk to support me. This is a great reward as I’ve been aiming for an Olympic medal for the last eight years.”

“Success gives you confidence but by its nature judo is unpredictable. You can make one little mistake and you are out. Thankfully I got to take home the gold medal today.”

Day two sees the middleweights in action with contests getting underway from 10:00 BST.