Nekoda Smythe-Davis got 2019 off to a fine start with bronze in the Tel Aviv Grand Prix, the eighth Grand Prix medal of her career.
The 2016 Rio Olympian was locked in an intense bronze-medal clash with France’s Helene Receveaux, which went to a golden score after the British athlete secured a late point to level the contest.
And Smythe-Davis quickly applied enough pressure on Receveaux to pick up the golden point and subsequently her first -57kg medal of the year.
“It was a tough day. Knowing that I was up against Receveaux for bronze, I knew I had to dig in deep and get ready for a fight," she said.
“I left everything on the mat and I was happy I could go away with a bronze medal.”
It was a strong finish to the day for Smythe-Davis, who suffered a disappointing defeat to Russia’s Daria Mezhetskaia to knock her out of gold medal contention.
However, she first beat Poland’s Julia Kowalczyk and then Receveaux, who she also bested at the Guangzhou Masters in December, to take home the medal.
Elsewhere, there was disappointment for Ashley McKenzie in the men’s -60kg division as he lost to Cedric Revol in his bronze-medal match.
McKenzie had beaten Belgium’s Jorre Verstraeten to reach the medal contest but Revol had too much power in the end – with McKenzie finishing fifth.