British Judo has announced the 8 fighters that have been selected for the upcoming World Championships which are due to be held in Budapest, Hungary from 6-13th June.
Prior to selection, it was agreed that the team would consist of fighters in direct or continental quota Tokyo Olympic qualification positions, or fighters identified by the GB Senior Coaching Team to have the potential to qualify for Tokyo, due to several factors caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The World Championships will be the final Olympic qualification event and there is plenty at stake for all British Judo fighters in Budapest. In the -63kg category, two fighters are still vying for one qualification spot whilst others will be aiming to secure a top 8 seeding on the Olympic qualification list, to ensure they are in a seeded position come the draw for the Olympic Games.
Chelsie Giles has been in superb form in 2021, after winning gold at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam, where she defeated the current Olympic Champion, she claimed silver at the Tbilisi Grand Slam.
Budapest will be Ashley McKenzie’s 9th appearance at the World Championships. Earlier this year he narrowly missed out on a medal at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam, finishing 5th.
Both fighters have made the podium this year with Renshall winning gold at the Antalya Grand Slam, following 5th and 7th place finishes at the Tbilisi and Tel Aviv Grand Slams respectively, whilst Livesey won bronze in spectacular fashion at the Tashkent Grand Slam, throwing her opponent in just 13 seconds.
2020 Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist, Gemma Howell makes her 6th World Championship appearance, whilst former World Championship bronze medallist Natalie Powell makes her 7th appearance at the World Championships.
Performance Director, Nigel Donohue, said: “This is a unique and unusual position that we are in, in that we have a World Championships in an Olympic year which is 1 month before the Tokyo Games and is also the final Olympic Qualification event. Our priority is the Olympic Games, but we have a number of fighters requiring Olympic qualification points to seal qualification or move into the top 8 of the world rankings, which will ensure being in a key seeded position in Tokyo.
“Saying that, this is also an opportunity to be a World and Olympic medallist in the same year which will create a bit of history, however, it is imperative that we get high quality performances in this event to build on the strong foundations of our success this year, give confidence and utilise the preparation programme as a spring board into the Olympic Games. What an exciting time it is to be a world class Judo fighter, in what has been a challenging 12 months for everyone on and off the mat.”
British Judo Head Coach, Kate Howey, said: “I am delighted to be selecting such a strong team of fighters for the World Championships. It will be a different feeling heading to a World Championships knowing we have another major event to follow but one that I know our fighters are relishing.
“This past year has been a difficult period for all, but I am proud of how our fighters have responded and of their performances this year.”
2021 Senior World Championships, 6-13 June 2021, Budapest, Hungary:
Image & Words courtesy of British Judo