Home » Judo news
The latest Judo News offered by JudoInside.com
British medal optimism in 2021 based on history
24 Jun 2020 15:45
Great Britain’s record at Olympic Games level over the years has been equally as sketchy. To date they have won only eighteen Olympic medals in Judo since it was added to the Summer games schedule way back in 1964. Neil Adams is still the most successful British judoka after winning silver in the men’s U71 kg category in 1980 in Moscow, Russia, and again in the men’s U78 kg category in 1984 in Los Angeles, USA.
More recently two members of the 2012 Olympic team claimed medals on home soil at the London games. Gemma Gibbons won silver in the eomen’s U78 kg category, and Karina Bryant won bronze in the women’s +78 kg category.
So what are the chances of Great British success in Tokyo next year? Recent history and performances tells us there is cause for optimism for British judoka to get amongst the medals, particularly in the women’s events. With the Japanese dominance of all weight categories across both men’s and women’s categories, there is perhaps only an outside chance of striking gold.
Whilst Japan have dominated the medal count in the majority of IJF Grand Prix events in the last two years, British competitors – and particularly the women’s judoka – have chipped away and picked up a variety of medals which to offer grounds for hope. Before the coronavirus pandemic brought sporting action globally to a standstill, January’s International Judo Federation (IJF) Tel Aviv Grand Prix in Israel saw Britain come away with two gold medals. Natalie Powell took the top spot on the podium in the women’s U78kg final whilst Conway did the same by winning the U70kg event.
Nekoda Smythe-Davis won the women’s U57kg bronze at the 2017 World Championships and Powell U78kg. At the time this was Great Britain’s first world medal since 2010 and the first time that two British female judokas had won world medals at the same event for 16 years which in itself tells its own story.
September 2018 saw Smythe-Davis win a silver medal at the World Judo Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan. She was looking to become Great Britain’s first world champion since Craig Fallon in 2005 but the silver medal proved the first for Great Britain since 2009. That gold did arrive at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam in 2018 when the Londoner clinched a second Grand Slam gold of her career.
The last British medal success at an IJF event before the enforced break came at the Paris Grand Slam in February with Gemma Howell picking up a bronze in the U70kg Final.
Whilst there has been medal success of all kinds for Britain’s women judoka, the same cannot be said for their male counterparts. The only notable medal of note in recent years coming last July at the Zagreb Grand Prix thanks to a silver medal for Ashley McKenzie in the men’s -60kg final.
With the world of judo and its competition events still on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is opportune to expect some medals in the women’s division in this exciting year with hopefully lots of action soon. The postponement of this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan until 2021 could be a blessing to see some athletes growing in the next year coming back from injuries.
Related judoka and events
Related Judo Photos
Related Judo Videos
Related Judo News
With an Olympic and World bronze, a European silver and seven IJF World Tour titles under her belt, Britain's Sally Conway has decided to call it a day. It's not clear why she decided to call it quits with just about half a year to go before the Olympic Games. Read more
Sally Conway has announced her immediate retirement from judo, calling time on a career that started over 26 years ago and has seen her become only one of two British female judoka to medal at the Olympic Games, World and European Championships and the Commonwealth Games. Read more
At the women’s U70kg weight class in Tel Aviv Kim Seongyeon of Korea and the British Olympic medallist Sally Conway made their way to the final. From the start, Conway set a steady pace to take over from Kim, which she did perfectly by scoring ippon on a first ko-uchi-gari that she followed to tackle the Korean on her back. Read more
French Marie Eve Gahie was crowned the new world champion after the French ace banished her memories of losing the 2018 final. Gahie defeated the unfancied Tbilisi Grand Prix winner Barbara Timo (POR) in the final after the Portuguese judoka belied her ranking of 29th in the world. Read more
Spanish World champion Nikoloz Sherazadishvili lost his second match against Axel Clerget (FRA) by a waza-ari score. The Spaniard failed to sparke in Tokyo and exited early on as a host of big names were shocked in the morning session on day five. Read more
Semen Kurtashov (RUS)