On the second day of the Tashkent Grand Slam Amy Livesey equalled her career best finish at a Grand Slam to win bronze and most importantly gain valuable Olympic qualification points.
The -63kg weight category is the most closely contended from a British Judo perspective, with three fighters in contention for the sole honour of representing Team GB at the Olympic Games Tokyo this summer.
Prior to the competition in Tashkent there were just 80 world ranking points separating Livesey and Lucy Renshall, following Renshall’s 7th place finish at the recent Tel Aviv Grand Slam.
Following an opening round bye, Livesey defeated Parwin Askari (AFG) in just 12 seconds in their Round 2 contest. In the third round she defeated Farangiz Khojieva (UZB), Khojieva amassing three penalty shidos, to progress to the Quarter-Finals to face recent World Masters bronze medallsit, Andreja Leski (SLO).
The Quarter-Final was a closely contested match that could have gone either way, but unfortunately for British Judo fans, during Golden Score it was Leski who scored a waza-ari to advance to the semi-finals, while Livesey proceeded to the Repechage, to face Ekaterina Valkova (RUS) for a chance to fight for bronze.
In the Repechage Livesey dominated from the first exchange, an excellent transition from newaza to transition to shimewaza, forcing her opponent to tap out and concede the contest, meaning Livesey progressed to the bronze medal match to face Gankhaich Bold (MGL).
It took Livesey just 13 seconds to defeat Bold and claim bronze, throwing her opponent with a harai goshi to win by ippon score.
Speaking after the competition Livesey said: “I started today pretty slowly but I improved throughout the competition with each fight being better than the last.
“I tried a few things today that I have been working on in training, so it was great that they worked for me, so I’m really pleased.
“This competition gives me valuable ranking points towards qualifying for Tokyo, which is the most important thing to me at the moment.”
Kate Howey, British Judo Head Coach, said: “Amy fought well today and improved with each fight she had. She has worked really hard during lockdown and it is starting to pay off.
“I’m pleased that a few new things that we have worked on in training have worked for her today and I’m looking forward to her next competition in Georgia in a few weeks.”
The third fighter in contention for -63kg Olympic selection is Lubjana Piovesana who defeated Sappho Coban (GER) in Round 2, the German fighter awarded three penalty shidos. In Round 3 she faced Daria Davydova (RUS), as the contest entered the closing stages both fighters had two shidos each and could not afford a third. Both fighters attacked but Piovesana was unfortunately thrown for waza-ari followed by a 10-second hold down, enough to see the Russian progress to the Quarter-Finals.
In the -70kg category Jemima Yeats-Brown defeated Taisia Kireeva (RUS) in the opening round, a single waza-ari score in the opening exchanges enough to see her progress to Round 2. In the second round Yeats-Brown was defeated by 5x African Champion Assmaa Niang (MAR) by ippon score.
Eric Ham (-73kg) defeated Faye Njie (GAM) in the opening round, Njie amassing three penalty shidos. However, the Brit was defeated by Zhansay Smagulov (KAZ) in the second round.
On the opening day of competition Acelya Toprak, competing in the -57kg category, was unfortunately defeated in her Round 2 match against former World & European bronze medallist Helene Receveaux (FRA), following an opening round bye. Toprak fought well, taking the contest to Golden Score, but was awarded three penalty shidos.
Tomorrow is the third and final day’s action at the Humo Arena, with three British fighters competing.
Natalie Powell (-78kg) enters Tashkent as the top seeded fighter and will face either Zarina Raifova (KAZ) or Iriskhon Kurbanbaeva (UZB) in Round 2, following an opening round bye.
In the -90kg category, Max Stewart also has an opening round bye and will face the 2019 European Games silver medallist Li Kochman (ISR) in Round 2.
Sarah Adlington (+78kg) faces Ivana Maranic (CRO) in the opening round, a fighter the Brit has defeated on their previous two contests.
Action on Sunday starts at 4:30am (GMT), with Final Block scheduled to commence at 12:00 (GMT).
British Judo will bring you a recap of how all your British fighters perform each day and you can follow the action on the British Judo social media channels. You can also watch the action live on the British Judo homepage.