Jemima Yeats-Brown and Jodie Myers added to the British Judo medal tally at the 2016 Under-23 European Judo Championships in Tel Aviv with silver and bronze respectively on Saturday 12 November.
Yeats-Brown (-70kg) was bringing medal winning form into the competition after gold at the Glasgow European Open and bronze at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam. After receiving a bye into the second round, the British fighter took on Sophie Berger and the Belgian judoka went behind early as Yeats-Brown scored waza-ari in the opening exchange. From there the contest was fairly even until Yeats-Brown was able to apply a strangle in the dying seconds forcing Berger to tap out.
Those newaza skills were to the fore in the quarter-finals against Alice Bellandi (ITA) as Yeats-Brown was able to turn the Italian on the ground and apply osaekomi after a failed attack. Despite Bellandi’s best efforts she wasn’t able to escape before the full 20 seconds was up.
Aleksandra Samardzic (BIH) had beaten Yeats-Brown at the Zagreb Grand Prix in September, throwing the British fighter for ippon, but there was no repeat in Tel Aviv. In a hard tactical contest, Yeats-Brown’s superior fitness and experience made the difference as she was able to force Samardzic to pick up a second shido in the final ten seconds. With both fighters have already conceded one each by then it proved decisive.
The final against Szabina Gercsak (HUN) would prove to be a match too far as the Hungarian scored early to go ahead by waza-ari. The British judoka tried her best to get the score back but was unable to get past her opponent’s gripping strategies. Two yuko scores in the final minute by Gercsak merely added gloss to the score leaving Yeats-Brown to pick up silver.
Jodie Myers (+78kg) was also in impressive form scoring in her very first exchange of the day throwing Croatia’s Tina Radic for yuko. The Croatian was attacking throughout but Myers was able to finish the contest with a big throw for ippon in the last 90 seconds.
Her quarter-final with Turkey’s Kubra Kara was all about her newaza ability as she applied a strangle in the opening minute forcing Kara to tap out. The semi-final would be contested against another Turkish fighter, this time Sebile Akbulut. In a tough match Myers got on the wrong side of the referee and found herself down by three shidos.
In trying to get a score on the board, Myers got in a dangerous position and was driving for waza-ari. Despite a big push at the end, which forced Akbulut to pick up three shidos herself, she wasn’t able to get the score and dropped into the repechage.
Anna Zaleczna (POL) was her opponent for bronze but Myers was the stronger fighter throughout. The Polish judoka was forced to pick up two shidos before Myers once again showed how good she can be on the ground as she forced the hold down and took the win and the medal.
There was also a fifth place for Ebony Drysdale-Daley at -70kg. The Birmingham judoka produced some determined judo during the day including a big win by ippon over Evelien Berndsen (NED) and a determined golden score win over Lorena Podelenczki (ROU) in the repechage final when she threw for waza-ari.
However it was the quarter-final with Gercsak that Drysdale-Daley was unable to bring her big throwing game to the fore as the Hungarian won the tactical fight after going ahead by yuko. The bronze medal match against Samardzic was decided by a single shido against the British fighter though she could count herself unlucky to not get at least one back after some weak attacks from her opponent.
The British team in Tel Aviv finished sixth in the medal table after Lucy Renshall’s gold on day one and Kelly Staddon and Acelya Toprak’s seventh place finishes.