Seventh for Schlesinger in Tokyo

Alice Schlesinger’s seventh was the highlight on day two for British Judo at the Tokyo Grand Slam on Saturday 5 December.

Schlesinger has enjoyed a good year on the international circuit and was coming into Tokyo off the back of a bronze medal at the Jeju Grand Prix the weekend before.

She started her day in the -63kg category with a strong win over Maricet Espinosa (CUB) as she threw the Cuban twice for waza-ari in quick succession to progress into the next round.

World number 14 Tserennadmid Tsend-Ayush (MGL) was her next opponent and in a tough contest Schlesinger controlled it well to hold off the Mongolian whose early shido was enough to see the British judoka into the quarter-final.

2015 World Champion Tina Rstenjak (SLK) faced Schlesinger for a place in the final four and unsurprisingly the Slovakian was a strong opponent but again the contest came down to shidos with the British fighter conceding three to none which saw her drop into the repechage.

Japan’s Miku Tashiro and 2015 Masters Gold medallist stood in her way and fast-paced contest was over in the second minute as the home judoka secured the hold down in ne-waza and scored ippon.

Despite missing out on a medal, Elite Performance Coach Kate Howey was positive about Schlesinger’s performance on the day and her year:

“Alice had a good tournament at the end of a hard year. She had two good wins against the Cuban and Mongolian which is pleasing. She lost to the World Champion on shidos and the Japanese World No. 7 but things will be taken from each of these.

“Alice came into this year with zero points and a goal to get into a strong qualifying position. She should now be in qualifying position ten for Rio and World Ranking List 13 which is a credit to how hard she has worked.

“Next year there are another five months of qualifying for her to improve her ranking and using the form of this year I’m sure she will add to her points.”

Sally Conway (-70kg) was also in action and went out in second round to Yoko Ono (JPN). Conway was a yuko up before being caught for ippon in the last minute with a standing Seoi nage.

Gemma Gibbons (-78kg) has enjoyed a strong second half to 2015 and off the back of a fourth consecutive Grand Prix medal she will be aiming to finish the year with a first Grand Slam medal since 2013. She takes on Hyunji Yoon (KOR) in her first contest on Sunday.

Sarah Adlington (+78kg) will face Tessie Savelkouls (NED) in the first round on the same day as Gibbons and the Edinburgh judoka knows a good result will put her a in a good place for 2016.      

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