Team GB added three medals to their medal tally on day three of the European Games in Minsk.
Two silver medals in the form of judo player Alice Schlesinger and archers Naomi Folkard and Patrick Huston (mixed team) and a bronze for shooter Aaron Heading took Team GB’s medal count to five.
Alice Schlesinger led the way for Team GB’s judo squad winning silver in the women’s -63kg competition at the Chizhovka Arena today.
Having greatly impressed en route to the final, Schlesinger was up against formidable French fighter and three time world champion Clarisse Agbegnenou. Schlesinger fought well, but her opponent’s pedigree eventually told and she had to settle for silver.
Schlesinger was positive about the result saying: “I’m feeling good. It was a good day for me overall. There are a few things I need to improve for the next tournament, but overall it was a good day.” On the European Games experience more broadly, Alice commented: “It’s been amazing, everything about it, all the people, all the team supporting you. If you need anything, everyone’s there to make you feel as comfortable as possible.”
Archery won their second medal of the Games as Naomi Folkard and Patrick Huston secured silver in the mixed recurve team event. Losing out in the gold medal match to the impressive Italian duo of Lucilla Boari and Mauro Nespoli.
Speaking after the final, a delighted Naomi Folkard said: "After winning a medal at the World Championships, we couldn't have imagined things would go so well. Team medals are always excellent to win. It's just brilliant and means a lot to me."
Playing partner Patrick Huston put behind a disappointing day in the men's team event to bounce back in impressive style. "We've achieved something great here and that's fantastic. These Games are similar to the Olympics in terms of atmosphere, the other sports and volunteers and it's been just awesome."
Aaron Heading clinched Team GB’s fifth medal of the Minsk 2019 European Games, after winning bronze in the men’s shotgun trap event at the Sporting Club Shooting Centre.
With first place guaranteeing a quota place for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the final was a tense affair leading to a number of mistakes throughout the field. But the Brit was able to capitalise and held his nerve to secure third place, eventually being eliminated on a score of 34.
“I can’t describe the feeling that I’ve got at the moment – it’s incredible. I’m just so happy,” said Heading. “I’ve had some good results this year, but haven’t quite come away with a what I wanted. I really was looking to get a medal coming into Minsk and now I’ve achieved that.
“These medals are really special – the Games don’t come around every year, so a lot of pressure comes with the competition. There were some testing targets today that were bang on the money, so to win bronze means even more," he added.
A busy day in the boxing saw Aqeel Ahmed (5-0) overcome Polish fighter Jakub Slominski, whilst Cheavon Clarke matched that score (5-0) in his fight against Estonian Ainar Karlson.
Despite some positives for Team GB’s judo players there was to be disappointment for others. In the men’s -81kg category Stuart McWatt fought superbly through the early rounds, beating some top fighters, however, McWatt got pinned back early on in his repechage contest costing him the fight and the chance to go for bronze.
Elsewhere, Lucy Renshall, Gemma Howell and flagbearer Sally Conway were all disappointed to lose in the early rounds. Reflecting on the defeat Conway remained upbeat, she said:
“Leading into the competition I felt my preparation had been going really well. I felt my judo was in a really good place, but it just goes to show that on the day one mistake costs you the fight and that’s you out of the competition."
In table tennis Liam Pitchford exited the men’s singles following a 4-1 defeat to Gionis Panagiotis of Greece. Teammate Sam Walker also went out, suffering a narrow 4-3 loss to the 10th seed Jonathan Groth, despite having three set points in the sixth set. Both men return on Thursday for the men’s team event, with a Tokyo 2020 quota place up for grabs.
Over in the centre of Minsk, five Team GB cyclists battled the heat in the men’s road race. Scott Thwaites was the first Brit to cross the finish line in the 180km course in seventh place with Gabriel Cullaigh following in 22nd, Ethan Vernon 28th, Jim Brown 79th and Charley Calvert 96th.
Finally, acrobatic gymnastics women’s group Erin Henderson, Sacha Muir and Chloe Rowlands completed their European Games with an excellent routine in the combined final, scoring 28.200 points for sixth place.