The Samsun Grand Prix in Turkey produced three medals for Great Britain as Olympians Sally Conway and Colin Oates took silver and bronze on Friday and Saturday while today up-and coming Rio 2016 prospect Natalie Powell added another silver to the mix.
Powell from Bluith Wells, Wales (-78kg) booked herself a place in the final on Sunday, against Luise Malzahn of Germany who she last fought in Miami.
However, an earlier blow to the head during her first round match where she threw Sama Hawa Camara of France for ippon eventually caused her to pull out of the final.
She had bravely battled on against Ivana Maranic of Croatia in the semi-final to progress to the final stage with three shidos to two. In the end she settled for silver after the win was automatically awarded to Malzahn.
Women’s lead coach Kate Howey said: “Natalie fought well and did a great throw against the French girl. It’s a shame she can’t fight in the final, due to a knock on the head, but with the European’s only weeks away we have to err on the side of caution. This result should move her up the world ranking list and seed her for the Europeans.”
Powell said: “I’m a bit upset that I couldn’t fight in the final as I really wanted gold today but I took a knock to my head and I will bounce back at the Europeans.”
Ben Fletcher (-100kg) beat Mykhailo Cherkasov of Ukraine by ippon in the first round but lost by waza-ari against Sergei Samoilovich of Russia.
On Saturday, Conway who is originally from Thornbury, Gloucestershire and now trains at Edinburgh Judo Club in Scotland, picked up her second silver medal of the season, along with valuable world ranking points that could see her re-enter the top eight in the world ranking list.
It was ippons all the way until the final when Vargas Koch who took her -70kg title by a single yuko. Friday saw Norfolk’s Colin Oates win bronze by beating Sinan Sandal for waza-ari and a hold down for ippon on his opponents home soil.
Sarajevo European Cup success
These results spelled a successful weekend for the Great British squad, bolstered when another team in Bosnia Herzegovina, claimed two golds, a silver and four bronzes.
On Saturday Connie Ramsay sealed up the -57kg silver at the Sarajevo European Cup as John Buchanan went on to take the -60kg bronze.
Sunday saw Winslow (Buckinghamshire’s) Caroline Kinnane (-78kg) of Renrukan Judo Club, gain a gold two weeks on the bounce following up Pan America with another top podium spot in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Sarajevo European Open with her winning ippon against Klara Apotekar of Slovenia.
And Enfield’s Awiti Alcaraz (-100kg) gained the second gold of the day as he equalled his career best at senior level with a winning ippon against Christoph Kronberger of Austria.
Kendal’s Michael Horley (-90kg) and Andy Burns of Team Bath/Edinburgh bounced to bronze at the Sarajevo European Cup in Bosnia-Herzegovina as Mihael Zgank of Slovenia who picked up three penalties.
Burns claimed the second -90kg bronze his with an ippon inside 30 seconds against Iurii Panasenkov of Russia.
JudoScotland’s Chris Sherrington (-100kg) added the fourth and final bronze to Britain’s armoury after a winning ippon against Bozidar Bozinic of Serbia.
Photos by Mike Varey and Bosnia and Herzegovina Judo Federation. More on the EJU website and British Judo facebook site.
By Donna Richardson. Updated at 18.01