On the opening day of the Portugal Grand Prix in Almada, Chelsie Giles (Coventry JC; Simon Moss)
and Nekoda Smythe-Davis (Ealing Judo Club; Jo Crowley) both started 2023 in medal winning form.
World number one Giles won the first Grand Prix title of her career as she claimed gold in the -52kg
category, whilst Smythe-Davis, who was competing in her first Grand Prix event since 2019,
following the birth of her daughter in 2021, won bronze in the -57kg category.
Giles, whose best performances at Grand Prix level have seen her win a silver and two bronze
medals, defeated Rebeka Keller (HUN) in Round 2 following an opening round bye. Giles threw her
opponent for waza-ari score before transitioning into the osaekomi hold down for ippon score.
Giles booked her place in the Quarter Finals with a third-round victory against Maria Siderot (POR).
Giles again trusted in her trademark newaza to progress to face Sita Kadamboeva (UZB).
Giles capitalised on her opponent going to ground and pinned her opponent with an osaekomi hold
down for ippon score to win her Pool and progress to the Semi-Finals.
Giles showed in the Semi-Final that she can also throw her opponents as she dispatched Ana Perez
Box (ESP) with a great change of direction to book her place in the final in what was arguably the
‘ippon of the day’.
Giles faced 2020 European Championship bronze medallist Estrella Lopez Sheriff (ESP) in the final.
With nothing between the pair the contest entered Golden Score where in the opening exchange,
Giles registered an uchi-mata to throw her opponent for ippon score.
Smythe-Davis overcame a potentially tricky first contest with ease as she defeated 6th seed Vera
Zemanova (CZE) in Round 2, following an opening round bye. Zemanova picked up three penalty
shidos to lose the contest.
Smythe-Davis continued her impressive form to defeat Anastasiia Chyzhevska (UKR) and 4th seed
Marica Perisic (SRB) to win her Pool and book her place in the Semi-Finals to face number 2 seed
Mimi Huh (KOR).
Huh started the Semi-Final the stronger of the two judoka and caught Smythe-Davis in the opening
15-seconds and threw her for ippon score. The defeat saw Smythe-Davis progress to the bronze
medal contest where she defeated Nilufar Ermaganbetova (UZB) to secure her place on the podium.