OLYMPIC silver medallist Gemma Gibbons and Sarah Adlington both won bronze medals for Great Britain at the International Judo Federation (IJF) Moscow Grand Slam yesterday.
All four senior British women fighting – Gibbons, Adlington, Natalie Powell and Sally Conway – reached their respective bronze medal fights, although only two ultimately went on to medal.
Gibbons (-78kg) began with victory by waza-ari over Russian Alana Kanteeva. That set up a quarter-final against Marhinde Verkerk of the Netherlands in a rematch from their last-eight clash at London 2012. However, this time it was the Dutchwoman who prevailed by the narrowest of margins, 1-2 on shidos, sending Gibbons into the repechage. From then on, Gibbons was on top form, beating Ukranian Victoria Turks by ippon in her opening repechage contest before sealing the bronze medal by beating another Dutchwoman, Iris Lemmen, by two yukos.
Three-time World Cup winner Adlington (+78kg) scored three ippons on her way to bronze, her first medal on the IJF world tour. She opened with an ippon victory over Ksenia Chibisova of Russia but lost by the same score to Germany’s Jasmin Kuelbs in round two. However, in the repechage, she was unstoppable winning by ippon against Brazilian Rochele Nunes and then in the bronze final against another German – Franziska Konitz – where she also performed a superb osotogari leg throw. Powell’s competition began with victory over Portugal’s Yahima Ramirez in round one by yuko but she then lost to world No 2 Abigel Joo of Hungary by ippon. That sent her into the repechage where she produced an excellent display to beat Mongolian Munkhtuya Battulga by a yuko. She then found herself up against Verkerk in the fight for bronze but again the Dutchwoman dashed British hopes with a narrow win by yuko to leave Powell fifth overall. It was a day of mixed fortunes for Conway, who also finished fifth after losing her battle for the -70kg bronze against Linda Bolder of the Netherlands.
Conway opened with an ippon win over Russian Ekaterina Denisenkova but then lost by waza-ari to Japan’s Arai Chizuru in round two. She began her repechage with an ippon victory over Barbara Timo of Brazil. But Bolder proved a bridge too far in the bronze-medal match. After making a strong start to the competition in his debut senior year, Philip Awiti-Alcaraz, exited in the second round after being defeated by Sergey Samoilovich of Russia.