Paul-Bell pleased with Judo World Championships performances

Paul-Bell pleased with Judo World Championships performances

31 August 2015 / 11:02

Despite a number of promising performances, Great Britain were unable mark the 2015 World Judo Championships with a medal in Astana.

With Rio less than 12 months ago, the competition in Kazakhstan provided British judo fighters with a chance to not only lay down a marker of intent, but gain valuable qualification points.

As it was a podium finish proved out of reach for the eight-strong team with the best result coming via Olympic silver medallist Gemma Gibbons who placed seventh.

She had made comfortable progress through to the quarter-finals but then lost to 2014 world bronze medallist Anamari Velensek before a second loss, this time to Marhide Verkerk in the repechage, ended her -78kg competition.

Day five also saw Sally Conway and Natalie Powell in action but they both exited in the second round.

Baku Grand Slam winner Conway lost out on golden score to Japan’s Chizuru Arai in the -70kg category while 2015 Masters silver medallist Powell was defeated by eventual bronze medallist Luise Malzahn after being thrown for Ippon.

The Championships had started for Britain with Kelly Edwards and Colin Oates but they both bowed out in the preliminary stages of the -52kg and -66kg competitions.

This year’s British Open champion Nekoda Davis fared slightly better on day three, reaching the quarter-finals of the -57kg category but lost out to Olympic bronze medallist Automne Pavia of France.

While the remaining two British fighters, Alice Schlesinger (-63kg) and Ben Fletcher (-100kg) also failed to reach the medal rounds.

Despite the disappointment, the Brits, such as Fletcher, could take some comfort from gaining crucial qualification points for Rio.

Fletcher is one of nine home nations fighters currently in a direct qualification position, leaving GB Elite performance coach Jean Paul-Bell taking comfort from their World Championships performances.

“We came out here and asked them to perform at their best which they all did,” he said.

“There are very small margins between winning and losing a contest, sometimes as small as a shido, and some days it's a medal for us and other days it isn’t.

“Overall, I am really pleased with the performance from the team and I am looking forward to the rest of the events ahead.” 

© Sportsbeat 2015