GB judo team set for European stage

70th The European Championship edition starts tomorrow with 16 British judo players heading to Sofia, Bulgaria for the three-day championship.

Arena Armeec will host over 360 contenders, all vying for the European Championship.

GB Judo has a long history in European Championships, having won several medals for participating in the competition.

Friday 29th

Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Chelsea Giles on the opening day of the European Championships. Giles won a bronze medal at the 2019 European Games, marking her start to the top of the world rankings in the -52kg category.

Seed 3rd, Giles will face Alexandra Kaletta (Poland) in round 2. The last time Giles faced 2021 Antalya Grand Slam bronze medallist Caletta was at the 2016 UEFA Youth Cup in Berlin, which Giles won.

Sam Hall and Ashley McKenzie compete in the -60kg category.

At the age of 26, Hall made his European Championship debut. Former European Junior Championship silver medalist Hall is playing his first international tournament since winning bronze at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam last November.

Hall will face Francisco Mendes (POR) in the first round.

At the other end of the experience scale, MacKenzie took his 10th European Championships, where he made his debut in 2011. The two-time European Championship bronze medalist will face Matan Kokolayev (ISR) in the first round.

Acelya Toprak made her second appearance at the European Senior Championships where she competed in the -57kg category. A former European Youth Championship silver medallist, Toprak will face Aletta Podolak (Poland) in the opening round. The two have seen only one occasion when Toprak won.

Gregg Varey and Alexander Short both made their senior European debuts in the -66kg category.

For the 33-year-old Varley, it will be his first and last time at the European Championships. After it was announced that this would be his last year competing.

Varley enjoyed a purple time in the second half of his career, finishing 7th Antalya Grand Slam 12 months ago. After becoming a parent in 2020, Varley credits his recent performance to being a father and enjoying the sport.

After the draw in Group B, Varley will face 2022 European Open Prague 2022 silver medallist Elios Manzi (ITA) in the second round after a first-round bye.

Meanwhile, Judo Scotland’s Short has been drawn into Group D for a first-round match against No. 3 seed and recent Tel Aviv Grand Slam champion Baruch Shmailov (ISR).

Saturday 30th

Lucy Renschel (featured image) Travel to Sofia in her life form. The disappointment in Tokyo last summer is a distant memory as she now finds herself on the cusp of being promoted to the top of the IJF world rankings in the -63kg category.

Seed 1stoneRenshall has an opening bye and will face either Laura Fazliu (KOS) or Keren Primo (ISR).

Joining Renshall in the -63kg class is Gemma Howell. Howell recently had a career-best finish in a major, as she picked up a silver medal in Tel Aviv in February. Howell is no stranger to the European Championships where he won bronze in the -70kg category. She will face 2021 Paris Grand Slam champion Barbara Timo (POR) in the first round. The two have only met before, in the 2020 Paris Grand Slam bronze medal match, which Howell won.

Former European Youth Championship winner Kelly Peterson Pollard is making his European Championship debut. The 22-year-old made a seamless transition to the senior ranks following her successful youth career, winning three Grand Slam bronze medals. Seed 6thPeterson Pollard will face 18-year-old Yuliia Kurchenko (UKR) in the first round.

Jemima Yeats-Brown dropped out of the -70kg class at the Paris Cycling after the Tokyo cycle, having previously finished in the -78kg class. Former European U23 Championship silver medallist Yeats Brown will face 2020 European U23 Championship bronze medalist Ida Eriksen (Sweden) in the opening round.

Lachlan Moorhead and Stuart McWatt compete in the -81kg category.

A bronze medalist at the 2019 European Youth Championship, Moorhead made his European Youth Championship debut in Sofia. Moorhead, drawn in Group C, will have a first-round bye to face the winner of the first-round match between Mihail Latisev (MDA) and Edi Sherifovski (MKD).

finished 7th At the 2019 European Games, McWatt is now competing in his third senior European Championship. Injuries brutally ended McWatt’s Tokyo trials, but he returned in February after a 12-month absence. After a first-round bye, McWatt will face world No. 1 Mathias Kass (BEL) in the second round.

Completing the lineup for Day 2 was Daniel Powell, who competed in the -73kg category. Powell is another fighter to make his European Championship debut. The 2017 European U23 Championship bronze medalist will face recent Antalya Grand Slam bronze medalist Salvador Cais-Roca (ESP) in the second round after a first-round bye.

Sunday 1stone

Emma Reed and Natalie Powell compete in the -78kg category.Reid made her European Championship debut while three-time bronze medalist Powell made her 8thth European Championship appearance.

Reed heads to Sofia for No. 7th After a first-round bye, they will face 2021 European U23 champion Patricia Sampaio (POR) in the second round. Meanwhile, Powell, who also has a first-round bye, will face No. 4 seed and recent Tel Aviv Grand Slam champion Beta Pakart (Poland) in the opening round. The two have met five times before, with Powell winning four times.

Reece Thompson was the last fighter to make his European Championship debut. The 25-year-old University of Birmingham physio student and -100kg British champion will face Bojan Dosen (SRB) in the first round.

Unfortunately, Jamal Petgrave Had to withdraw from the -90kg class due to injury.

also specifically mentioned Lisa Rivershe was chosen as the referee for the tournament.

Preliminaries start at 07:30am (BST) on Friday and Saturday and 8:00am on Sunday.

The Final Block is scheduled to start at 14:00 every day.

You can watch all the action from the European Championships live every day on the British Judo homepage.

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