An exciting day of judo at the Paris Grand Slam saw British judoka finish with two fifths and two seventh places on Sunday 18 October
Ben FLETCHER (-100kg) stunned Oleksandr ROMANYUK (UKR) in the first round which was followed up with a very tight battle against 2015 IJF Masters winner, Elmar GASIMOV (AZE). The contest went into golden score where the experienced Azeri judoka scored yuko on Fletcher.
The first to book a spot in the quarter-finals was Sarah ADLINGTON (+78kg) when she defeated Svitlana IAROMKA (UKR) by three to two on penalties before having to bow out against Vanessa ZAMBOTTI (MEX) where the score was reversed against the British fighter. In the repechage the repeat of last week’s final of the Lisbon European Open was on offer which meant Adlington faced Larisa CERIC (BIH). It was a very promising start from the British judoka, however towards the end of the contest, Ceric pulled of a yuko score which she topped up with a waza-ari. In the end Ceric defeated this year’s world champion, YU Song (CHN) to claim bronze with Adlington finishing in seventh place.
The -78kg yet again started off at an incredible pace and soon both British athletes claimed a place in the quarter-finals, where Gemma GIBBONS took down Luise MALZAHN (GER) to face her rival Audrey TCHEUMEO (FRA) in the semi-final. The French superstar ended the show in style and threw Gibbons for Ippon.
Madeleine MALONGA (FRA) was on the other side ready for the battle against Gibbons with a bronze opportunity on offer. The two competitors faced each other two weeks ago at the Taskhkent Grand Prix where the French left no stone unturned to take a victory. However, today Gibbons’ yoko-guruma attempt was given to Malonga as an Ippon, which meant a fifth place for Gibbons as the finish to her day. The French fighter had earlier defeated Natalie POWELL in the repechage round which meant IJF Masters silver medallist, Powell finished in seventh place.
“I thought it was really unfortunate decision for Gemma, so I am really disappointed. Part of the tactics was to get Gemma into that fight because Malonga is a good starter but she fades out and that was the plan. When there was only a shido on the scoreboard I did believe Gemma was going to win this. I think overall the performance was good. Of course not winning a medal is disappointing but it is all a progress towards the next Grand Slam tournament in Abu-Dhabi.”, concluded Elite Performance Coach, Jean-Paul Bell.
Sally CONWAY (-70kg) overcame Alix RENAUD-ROY (CAN) before claiming a victory over 2014 World Championships bronze medallist, Karen NUN IRA (JPN). In the semi-finals Conway suffered a defeat from Laura VARGAS KOCH (GER), which led a bronze match up against Kim POLLING (NED). Two – two penalties were on display before Polling pulling out a yuko worth of a throw, which Conway could not bring back to her side and finished in fifth place.
“Polling was certainly working on this contest as it was completely different to the last time we fought, which is fine because now it gives me something more to work on as well. I am not really pleased with my performance but I am looking forward to the camp and it will be all something to build on towards the next event in Abu-Dhabi”, Conway said afterwards.
The next opportunities to gain crucial qualifying points will be held in Abu-Dhabi in two weeks time at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam.