Nekoda Davis produced a day of world-class judo to win Great Britain’s first World Championships medal since 2010 at the 2017 World Judo Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Wednesday 30 August.
The -57kg judoka beat Miryam Roper (PAN) in the bronze medal fight, going two waza-aris ahead before Roper was unable to carry on due to a neck injury picked up during the fight.
Euan Burton was the last British judoka to medal at the World Championships, taking home bronze in Tokyo in 2010.
Davis, fighting in her first tournament at -57kg since the Rio Olympic Games, was in inspired form throughout the day. A wrist surgery after Rio followed by thumb surgery in April meant that Davis had only fought once since Rio, at the Tblisi Grand Prix in March at -63kg.
She showed her patience in her round of 32 contest against Irina Zabludina (RUS) as she threw the Russian for ippon in the final minute with the score initially given as waza-ari.
In the last 16 she took on Canada’s Jessica Klimkait with the sixth seed going ahead by waza-ari in the first thirty seconds, with the score initially given as ippon before being correctly downgraded. Davis then took control of the contest and with little under two minutes left she threw Klimkait for ippon.
France’s World No.3 Helene Receveaux was next up in the quarter-finals. The French judoka took an early lead by waza-ari but Davis looked strong throughout as forced Receveaux on the defensive. She was unable to get the score back and dropped into the repechage final.
World No.7 Chen-Ling Lien had been effective in newaza in the early rounds and looked to take advantage on every occasion. However, Davis defended well on the ground and ensured that the fight went into golden score.
Off the very first exchange Davis threw Lien for waza-ari to book her spot in the bronze medal contest, the first British judoka to fight for a medal since Colin Oates in 2011 in Paris.
Roper, the current World No.5, came out strong in their bronze medal match but Davis took her two chances to go ahead before the Panamanian judoka was unable to continue.
Speaking afterwards Davis said:
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet but I’m sure it will. I just walked off and I couldn’t believe it, I still can’t believe it now.
“I’ve had two surgeries in the last year and mentally it’s been really hard for me to get back on. The training’s been difficult and to come back from surgery, back to full fitness, is a hard road.
“I think I’ve just proved to myself that even when it seems like I’m out it and I’m never going to get back to the stage, that I can and I can actually get myself on a world podium.”