Seventh for Schlesinger in Tokyo

Alice Schlesinger finished seventh on a tough first day at the 2017 Tokyo Grand Slam on Saturday 2 December in Japan.

The -63kg judoka was going in as one of the top eight seeds and she backed up her ranking on a day in which hosts Japan dominated proceedings.

Schlesinger started the day against USA’s Leilani Akiyama and went ahead early on by waza-ari. The British judoka continued to dominate proceedings with Akiyama doing well to escape some big attacks.

Schlesinger finished the contest off in the final minute as the American judoka went on the attack, throwing her ippon.

Canada’s Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard was next up in the second round. The two judoka had fought out a close contest in the Hague Grand Prix last month and this was more of the same.

With about a minute and forty seconds left on the clock both fighters got into a clinch with Schlesinger coming out on top to take Beauchemin-Pinard back for waza-ari.

The Canadian came back hard in the final minute and almost scored in the dying seconds but Schlesinger did enough to move into the quarter-finals.

Former World bronze medallist Miku Tashiro (JPN) had looked impressive already and the home judoka showed her class once again.

While both judoka were positive in their judo Tashiro looked the more likely to score. With little over two minutes left she saw a chance in newaza off the back of a strong exchange and she secured osaekomi for ippon.

Schlesinger dropped into the repechage final to face another Japanese fighter in Megume Tsugani. It was another close and tightly fought contest.

Going into the final minute Tsugani continued to ramp up the pressure and eventually it told as she rolled Schlesinger for waza-ari and finished the contest with a strong hold down.

Kelly MacDonald made it to the second round in Tokyo as she started her day with a good win over Annie Lau (HKG). The British judoka threw her opponent for waza-ari in the opening minute and followed up with strong newaza to seal the contest.

Japan’s world silver medallist Natsumi Tsunoda would prove to be too good in the next round though as she applied the strangle and forced MacDonald to tap.

Bekky Livesey (-57kg), Nekoda Smythe-Davis (-57kg) and Amy Livesey (-63kg) all went out in the first round to Chen-Ling Lien (TPE), Hedvig Karakas (HUN) and Miku Tashiro (JPN) respectively.

Bekky Livesey was caught and held down in newaza by Lien as the Chinese Taipei judoka came firing out of the blocks. Smythe-Davis lost a tight and scrappy contest to Karakas with a late waza-ari deciding things. Amy Livesey held her won in tachiwaza against Tashiro but the Japanese judoka took an opportunity in newaza to secure the hold down for ippon.

Sunday will see Sally Conway (-70kg), Gemma Howell (-70kg), Natalie Powell (-78kg) and Stuart McWatt (-81kg) in action in Tokyo. Competition starts at midnight tonight with live coverage via and @BritishJudo on Twitter.