WEEKEND ROUND-UP: 2019 World Championships
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WEEKEND ROUND-UP: 2019 World ChampionshipsPosted: 02/09/2019
There were mixed fortunes for JudoScotland athletes in Tokyo at this year’s World Championships. With next year’s Olympics on the horizon, Sarah Adlington, Sally Conway and Stuart McWatt took to the tatami in the Nippon Budokan to test themselves a year out from big event. The standout performance of the week undoubtedly came from Conway, whose gritty performance secured her first ever World Championship medal (bronze), to add her Olympic bronze and European silver.
Stuart McWatt kicked off things for the Scots on Day 4 of the Championships, competing in the -81kg category. Fighting in his second World Championships, it was a tough start for McWatt. His opening round clash against Alexios Ntanatsidis (GRE) ended in defeat, with the Greek progressing to the 4th round.
Day 5 of the Championships saw Sally Conway competing in the -70kg category, where some incredible performances led her to the bronze medal. She defeated Gulnoza Matniyazova (UZB), Giovanna Scoccimarro (GER) and world ranked no.3 Anna Bernholm (SWE) to win her Pool and progress to the Semi-Finals where she came up against world-ranked no. 2 Marie-Eve Gahie (FRA). Gahie, took advantage of a rare error from Conway, securing her victory with an osaekomi. Gahie later went on to win gold, whilst Conway was presented with a bronze medal contest in the form of Michaela Polleres (AUT).
Conway put in a strong performance from the beginning, scoring a waza-ari early on. Polleres quickly evened out the scores but this did little to deter Conway as she threw her opponent for ippon to secure victory, and with it, her first ever World Championship medal.
Sarah Adlington was last to compete out of the Scottish contingent, fighting in the +81kg category on day 7 of the Championships. Fighting against 2018 European Championship bronze medallist, Tessie Savelkouls (NED), Adlington succumbed to an opening round defeat. Her opponent was too strong, scoring a waza-ari to secure victory.
Despite the mixed fortunes for our athletes, experience at events like these is vital with Tokyo 2020 on the horizon, and there is no doubt that there are plenty of positives and learnings to take home. Since her Olympic debut in London 2012, Sally has shown incredible skill and determination and this latest medal is testament to how hard she has worked, and continues to work.
Although Stuart and Sarah were unable to make it to the podium, the road to Tokyo 2020 continues and both will be back on the competition mat in the coming weeks as they hunt down qualification points across the world, with the Tashkent Grand Prix (20-22 September) next on the agenda.