GB Judo finished the individual competition at the 2018 IBSA Judo World Championships with three medals following a superb day’s judo on Saturday 17 November in Odivelas, Portugal.
At the last IBSA Judo World Championships in 2014, GB Judo won one medal through Jonathan Drane (-81kg bronze). This year’s event was also the first qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Sam Ingram’s silver was the standout result as the highly experienced two-time Paralympic medallist continued to show his class at his new weight category.
Ingram had previously fought at -90kg but moved up to -100kg following the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
Ingram went in as one of the top seeds and backed it up. He saw off the challenge of Oleksandr Pominov (UKR) in his opening fight, throwing the Ukrainian with a nice sumi-gaeshi.
He continued that form in the quarter-final as he proved too good for Benhamin Goodrich (USA). This time Ingram showed his ability on the ground as he applied the shime-waza and forced Goodrich to tap.
A third ippon win followed in the semi-final, this time against Anatolii Shevchenko (RUS). Ingram didn’t have to wait long as he threw Shevchenko for ippon inside the opening minute, showing great control with the tomoe-nage.
Georgia’s Zviad Gogotchuri would be Ingram’s opponent for gold. The Georgian had already beaten Ingram’s teammate Skelley in the semi-final and Gogotchuri’s power was the telling difference in the final.
Ingram was active and looked to attack but he picked up three shidos as he struggled to gain a foothold in the contest.
However, Ingram’s silver was a terrific return having been at the weight for just over a year.
Speaking afterwards he said:
“It was good, I finished with a medal. I’m aiming for the rostrum at each tournament so I’m happy with my performance.
“Obviously could have been slightly better but I performed to the best of my abilities so that’s all I can really ask for and do.”
He was joined on the -100kg podium but European champion Chris Skelley. The Hull judoka was also one of the top seeds going into the competition.
He wasted little time in his first contest as he threw Sharif Khalilov (UZB) for ippon with just three seconds on the clock using tomoe-nage.
That technique also secured Skelley the win in the quarter-final against 2018 Asian Para-Games champion Ehsan Mousanezhad Karmozdi (IRI).
Skelley got his score early on and then did well to hold off his very powerful opponent despite picking up two shidos late on.
Gogotchuri proved too good in the semi-final as he threw Skelley for waza-ari before finishing the contest in osaekomi.
The bronze medal contest against USA judoka Benjamin Goodrich forced Skelley to go to the well in a tough and cagey contest.
The American judoka made the stronger start as his drop attacks put Skelley under pressure. Skelley took his time though and following some good attacks he forced Goodrich to get a shido.
The fight went into golden score and it continued in a similar vein in added time with both fighters having periods of attacking pressure.
Eventually though Skelley’s superior attack rate and gripping forced Goodrich to pick up two more shidos in golden score.
There was joy for -90kg judoka Elliot Stewart as the Birmingham judoka won bronze following a very tactical and physical medal contest against Rovshan Safarov (AZE).
Stewart had beaten Safarov earlier this year at the Antalya World Cup, with a waza-ari the deciding factor on that occasion.
This time the fight was decided by shidos as Stewart put in a strong tactical performance, with his superior fitness also proving key.
Both judoka had picked up two shidos as the fight approached golden score time. Stewart went looking for a score and Safarov was forced into pushing the British judoka off the mat, resulting in a third shido.
Stewart had started his day with a big win over Rio 2016 bronze medallist Shuhkrat Boboev (UZB). The British fighter did a good job of managing the contest against his physical opponent before getting the better of tough exchange to throw him with Osoto-gari.
The British fighter then lost a tight quarter-final to Iran’s Vahid Nouri. Both judoka had chances to score but it was Nouri who took a waza-ari lead before finishing the contest in the final minute as he threw Stewart for ippon.
This meant Stewart had to win two fights in the repechage to fight for bronze. Nice ashi-waza against Yanchen Li (CHN) gave Stewart another ippon win.
He followed that up in the repechage final with an uchi-mata giving him the ippon against Arthur Cavalcante Da Silva (BRA).
Stewart was understandably delighted to win his first World medal having only been fighting in VI judo for just over a year.
“Today’s performance was good. Not all of it went to plan but I dug deep, worked hard and got the result I wanted in the end.”
There were also three medals for GB Judo at the 2018 The Hague Grand Prix including gold for Sally Conway at -70kg. This was the sixth medal of the year for the British fighter and her first Grand Prix gold in almost three years.
Conway won each of her fights on the way to the final by ippon, including in the semi-final against WRL 3 Maria Portela (BRA). She was due to fight Sanne Van Dijke (NED) in the final but the Dutch judoka, who has never beaten Conway, withdrew due to injury.
There was also a silver medal for Alice Schlesinger (-63kg). This was the three-time Olympian’s first medal since winning silver at this event in 2017. Schlesinger beat fellow GB judoka Amy Livesey on her way to final. China’s Junxia Yang got the win in the final, holding down Schlesinger for ippon.
Livesey came through the repechage to win bronze, her fourth Grand Prix medal and her second of 2018 after winning bronze in Cancun last month. The St Helens judoka beat Romania’s Stefania Adelina Dobre in the bronze medal contest, throwing her opponent for waza-ari twice.