Six medals for GB Judo on opening day of Birmingham Junior European Cup

On the opening day of the 2024 Birmingham Junior European Cup, GB Judo won 6 medals to better the 2023 total of 4 medals with a day of action still to come with some strong GB medal hopes.

GB Judo dominated the -73kg which had over 30 entrants by winning three of the four medals on offer. Luke Davies entered as the number one seed and, after winning his Pool, defeated team-mate Ben Levy in the semi-final.

On the other side of the draw, Irakli Goginashvili secured his place in the final with a semi-final Golden Score victory against Morgan Errboe (DEN).

In what was the highly anticipated final of the day, Davies overcame his teammate in the closing seconds, registering a throw for waza-ari before pinning for ippon score.

In the bronze medal contest, Levy also had to wait until the closing seconds of the contest to win bronze against Kylian Nze-Bekale (FRA). Levy pinned his opponent as the contest clock reached zero to register the only score of the contest.

Lewis Fryer claimed a second Birmingham Junior European Cup silver medal after taking -60kg silver in 2023.

Fighting in the -66kg category this year, Fryer secured his place in the final by defeating number one seed Kamil Michna (POL) in the semi-final.

In the final, Fryer went a score up against Georgios Kalaitsidis (CYP), but when the score was levelled, the momentum shifted in the way of the Cypriot judoka, who went on to claim the gold medal in the following exchange. The silver medal is Fryer’s first on the European circuit since stepping up to the -66kg category.

In the -70kg category, Holly Devall won her second Junior European Cup medal of the year as she claimed bronze. Devall has been in fine form this year with two fifth-place finishes before a gold medal at the Kaunas Junior European Cup.

There was an all GB bronze medal final in the +78kg category as Harriet McRae faced Cordelia Quinlan. As the contest reached the midway point, McRae threw Quinlan for an ippon score to secure the bronze medal, her first on the European circuit. Defeat meant Quinlan had to settle for 5th.

Elsewhere, there were also 5th place finishes for Katie Mills (-63kg), Nicole Wood (-78kg) and Abigail Guest (+78kg) whilst Owen Lambert (-73kg), Phoebe Digweed (-63kg) and Anika Rabi (-70kg) finished 7th.

During the opening ceremony, British Judo President, Rowena Birch was presented with her 7th Dan having been involved in the sport for nearly 40 years as a competitor, coach, board member and now President.

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