British Judo target success at European Championships

British Judo target success at European Championships
By Sportsbeat

06/04/2017 at 11:31Updated 06/04/2017 at 12:10

British Judo performance director Nigel Donohue insists his judokas will be chasing podium places after naming an 11-strong team for the 2017 European Judo Championships in Warsaw.

Taking place in Poland from April 20 to April 23, the Championships will see Europe's best judokas go head to head.

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Last year British Judo enjoyed its best return from the European Championships in ten years with Colin Oates and Natalie Powell winning silver and bronze respectively. Nekoda Davis, Sally Conway and Gemma Gibbons all finished fifth in their respective weights.

This year's team features five of the British team from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Davis (-57kg), Alice Schlesinger (-63kg), Powell (-78kg), Ashley McKenzie (-60kg) and Ben Fletcher (-100kg) competing across the three days of individual competition.

Alice Schlesinger - British judo star

Alice Schlesinger - British judo starImago

As well as the returning Olympians, four of the team will be making their European Championships debut – those being Chelsie Giles (-52kg), Bekky Livesey (-57kg), Neil MacDonald (-60kg) and Max Stewart (-90kg).

Donohue said: "We had a really successful Championships in Kazan last year and with the team we've selected, I'm confident that we can challenge for medals once again.

"The likes of Nekoda Davis, Alice Schlesinger, Ashley McKenzie and Natalie Powell have shown they can perform at this level and of course we expect them to be up there at these milestone tournaments.

"In terms of the debutants, Bekky Livesey and Max Stewart have both medalled at Grand Prix level and Max has had a fantastic transition to -90kg and is now ranked 15 in the world after less than a year at the weight.

Nekoda Smythe Davis poses for a photo

Nekoda Smythe Davis poses for a photoReuters

"Chelsie and Neil are still Juniors but they've already shown a level of performance at Senior level, as well as in the Juniors, where we feel confident that they can go out and perform.

"This year is the perfect opportunity to give these younger players that experience with an eye on them pushing for the Olympics in 2020 and beyond."