Ben Fletcher’s seventh place finish was the highlight for British Judo on the third and final day of the Samsun Grand Prix on Sunday 3 April.
Coming off the back of a seventh place finish in Tbilisi the weekend before Fletcher (-100kg) would have been hoping to go even better. In his opening contest with Grigori Minaskin (EST) the British judoka went two shidos down early on however his superior fitness told and he was able to grind the Estonian down and took the win by three shidos to two.
His next opponent was Italy’s Vincenzo D’Arco, who had beaten Fletcher at the Glasgow European Open last year. It was a close contest with a single yuko to Fletcher proving the difference.
This set-up a quarter-final with talented Georgian Beka Gviniashvili who had already beaten World number one Elmar Gasimov (AZE) in decisive fashion. The younger judoka just proved too good throwing Fletcher for waza-ari before securing the osaekomi and taking the contest.
Moving into the repechage Fletcher came up against another familiar face in Miklos Cirjenics (HUN). The British judoka had won their contest in Glasgow last year but this time the Hungarian scored two yukos which proved to be enough despite Fletcher’s best efforts.
Sarah Adlington (+78kg) made a solid start proving too strong for local judoka Kubra Kara throwing for yuko and then forcing her opponent to pick up four shidos giving her the win. However she was no match the higher ranked Iryna Kindzerska (UKR) who secured the contest with a minuted and half to go by ippon.
Frazer Chamberlain (-90kg) went out in the first round to World No.19 Dvarby Joakim (SWE). Chamberlain had made a strong start and forced the Swedish judoka to pick up a shido however with little over two minutes left the British judoka was caught and throw for ippon ending the contest.
Phil Awiti-Alcaraz (-100kg) lost his opening contest to the powerful Jorge Fonseca (POR). In a hard fought, physical match-up the result came down to shidos with the British judoka picking up three to Fonseca’s two.
Chris Sherrington (+100kg) also went out in his opening contest losing to Ushangi Kokauri (AZE) by waza-ari. The British judoka had been leading the contest from the beginning forcing his opponent to pick up three shidos however in the final minute Kokauri picked up the pace and secured the decisive score.
Elite Performance coach Jean-Paul Bell said: “As expected nearing the end of qualifying this was a tough event with points at a premium and wins hard to come by. The athletes gave 100% and there were some good performances and things to work on for the next one as we move into the final qualifying phase.”