It was another fantastic weekend for VI GB judoka at the São Paulo IBSA Judo Grand Prix in Brazil last weekend with four GB judoka competing. The Men’s J2 +90kg category included Chris Skelley and Jack Hodgson, whilst GB’s Evan Molloy competed in the J2 -90kg category and Connah Anders in the J1 -73kg.
With only 4 judoka competing in the J2 +90kg category and changes to the IBSA weight categories a series of round robins with the 4 judoka would inevitably lead to teammates Chris Skelley and Jack Hodgson facing each other. The two GB judoka were drawn against each other in the first round-robin fight and after a tentative start to the fight, it was Paralympic Champion Chris Skelley who claimed the victory.
In the next fight, Skelley dominated against a young Kazakstan fighter, arm-locking his much bigger opponent, he eventually won the round. Skelley then faced Brazilian judoka Fernandes in his final medal contest fight. Skelley threw the Brazilian with a lovely drop O-uchi gari for wazari and then pinned him down for the gold medal. .
After Hodgson’s round one defeat by fellow teammate Skelley, Hodgson went onto face the Brazilian Judoka Fernandez. Hodgson threw Fernandez to gain the win with a harai maki Komi for wazari and then pinned him. Hodgson’s second victory of the day came in his final round against T Azhgaliyev from Kazakhstan. This victory for Hodgson was gained after he scored a Waza-ari against his opponent Azhgaliyev which secured his silver medal position on the podium behind teammate Chris Skelley.
The two heavyweight fighters have now moved up the world rankings with Skelley moving up to world ranked 3 (WR3) and Hodgson taking the world number 1 spot for now after a very consistent start to the year.
Evan Molloy faced Brazilian Casanova in the first round of the J2 -90kg contest with a lovely drop side for ippon. In the next round he then lost to Tokyo Paralympic bronze medalist from France with a really well taken koshi jime strangle. Securing a place in the bronze medal contest, Molloy faced South African judoka Joubert. Molloy dominated the fight and made a number of huge attacks that the South African did well to stop. Towards the end of the fight, the South African attacked with an uchi mata to which Molloy tried to counter with Ura-nage… The South African hooked in and countered for the win so Molloy settled for 5th place at the Grand Prix, but still cements his place as WR3.
Connah Anders who competed in the J1 -73kg lost to the experienced Argentina fighter. The Argentine then lost to the eventual winner from Brazil which meant Connah was out.
“Overall, I was happy with the performance of the team. Both Hodgson and Skelley really showed their class in the weight category winning with some lovely judo” said Olympic Development Paralympic Coach, Ian Johns.
“Evan and Connah have still got a lot to learn and develop with the fighters staying after the competition for a training camp. Jack made his way home following the competition as his attention now turns to getting married this coming weekend.”
Action from Sunday’s IBSA Grand Prix, including all medal contests from the competition can be rewatched on the IBSA YouTube page.
The next worldwide competition in the IBSA calendar will take place 7th – 9th November 2022 in Baku for the World Championships.