Great Britain’s judo athletes claimed three gold medals on their way to second in the medal table at this week’s Pan-American Open in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Two of Team GB’s London 2012 Olympians, Ashley McKenzie and Sarah Clark, stood on the top step of the podium as the squad also took five silver medals and two bronze.
Londoner McKenzie (-60kg) was back in international action after winning the English Open the previous week. The 2013 European Bronze medallist went to Uruguay hoping to defend his Pan-American Open title after winning the event in 2013. He took an ippon win in the first round against Corwin Learned of the USA before defeating two Brazilians both by yuko to reach the final. There he beat Mexico’s Nabor Castillo by ippon to claim the gold.
Edinburgh’s Sarah Clark was in action at -63kg and showed her experience with a string of ippon victories over South American opposition. She came up against three Brazilian competitors beating Katherine Campos in the final.
Megan Fletcher claimed GB’s third gold with victory in the -70kg category. Her first contest saw a narrow win on shidos over Andrea Poo of Mexico, before a comprehensive win over Alix Renaud-Roy of Canada. The final saw her face Kelly Mesquita of Brazil taking a win by ippon.
Euan Burton continued in his bid of the Commonwealth Games with silver in the -100kg category losing out to former Pan-American Continental Champion, Hugo Pessanha of Brazil as he was forced to settle for silver.
There were also silver medals for -81kg judoka Owen Livesey who took four wins by ippon before losing out to Russia’s Anton Nikiforov and also Royal Marine Chris Sherrington who also lost out to a Russian, Soslan Bostanov, in the +100kg final.
In the women’s -78kg category Caroline Kinnane got silver, narrowly losing out to Samanta Soares of Brazil by yuko in the final, as did Louise Renicks who took three wins before losing by ippon to Brazil’s Raquel Silva.
-100kg fighter James Austin beat Brazilian Horacio Antunes by ippon to claim bronze, whilst two Brits – Michael Horley and Matt Purssey – faced off in the -90kg repechage. Purssey triumphed with ippon after going a yuko up to progress to the bronze medal contest where he beat Frenchman Ludovic Gobert by waza-ari for the medal.
Five other athletes claimed fifth with Frazer Chamberlain, Adam Hall, James Millar, Stephanie Inglis and Jodie Mullen all losing out in bronze medal contests.
Attention this weekend turns to Argentina with another Pan-American Open taking place on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23rd in Buenos Aires.