Great Britain’s Visually Impaired Judo Team won three bronze medals at the IBSA European Judo Championships in Portugal last weekend.
Chris Skelley and Jack Hodgson secured their medals on Friday before London 2012 silver medallist Sam Ingram clinched bronze on Saturday.
Despite missing out on winning a medal, Great Britain’s only female athlete Nathalie Greenhough produced some strong performances in her competition.
Chris Skelley who competed in the men’s -100kg category, started Friday with a win over Theoklitos Papachristos of Greece, using strong ne-waza skills to claim the victory.
In the semi-final, the 22-year-old came up against Abdula Kuramagomedov of Russia, the 2014 World Champion. At one penalty up and with just a second to go, the British judoka looked set for the final but for a last second yuko scoring throw securing a final place for Kuramagomedov which saw Skelley head for the bronze medal contest.
The Brit faced Turkish fighter, Ibrahim Bolukbasi for the bronze medal. In less than 30 seconds the contest was over with Skelley throwing for ippon.
Jack Hodgson fought Dursun Hayran of Turkey in his first round contest. He saw off the Turkish fighter with a throw for ippon, which put him through to the semi-final where he came up against Vilham Zakiye of Azerbijan.
It was a tough contest which saw Zakiye, defending European champion and two-time Paralympic and World champion, pick up two penalties before throwing Hodgson for waza-ari and then claiming the victory with a hold down.
The bronze medal was within reach for Hodgson as he faced off against Frenchman Julien Taurines. The contest was over in less than minute with Hodgson throwing explosively for two waza-ari scores to secure the bronze medal.
On Saturday, two-time European champion Ingram, started his day in the men’s -90kg category with a strong win over Ramin Aliyev of Azerbaijan.
The semi-final saw him face Georgian Zviad Gogotchuri, who had competed at the highest level in sighted judo before his move over to visually impaired judo.
The Georgian, who had defeated Ingram in the final of the 2015 World Games earlier this year, proved too strong as he held down the British judoka for ippon.
Ingram then faced Vladimir Fedin of Russia for the bronze medal. Going a yuko down early on in the contest, Ingram came back strong, throwing the Russian judoka for waza-ari before getting the hold down to win the contest.
Natalie Greenhough who competed in the women’s -70kg, was also in action and produced some strong performances but claimed no wins over the course of the day in a small but tough pool.
Pictures courtesy of British Judo, with thanks.