British judoka sign off from European Championships with fifth-place finish in team event
Great Britain finished in fifth place in the men’s team event to sign off from a memorable IBSA European Championships in Walsall.
Taking part in the team event for the first time in a number of years, the team’s fifth place was confirmed after a 4-1 defeat to the impressive Turkey in the bronze medal match.
Nine nations entered the team event, but the Great British team started the day buoyed by Hull judoka Chris Skelley’s gold medal on day two of the event.
The last time Great Britain had a European champion was Sam Ingram in 2013, but that all changed on Saturday as 24-year-old Skelley, the top seed at -100kg, beat Russian Malik Kurbanov in the final to claim the gold.
First on day three for Great Britain was an experienced Russian squad, but their opponents proved too strong and secured the contest with a 4-1 victory, Skelley with the consolation in the +90kg category.
That result dropped Great Britain into the repechage where they fought their way to a 3-2 victory over a competitive Germany team - with wins for Evan Molloy, Jack Hodgson, and Elliot Stewart, the latter of whom made his European Championship debut in this edition.
The bronze medal match saw Great Britain roared on by the Walsall crowd but unable to prevent defeat to Turkey with Skelley again providing the only consolation with an ippon to defeat Onur Tastan.
Russia claimed the final bronze of the men’s Team Championships with a 3-2 victory over France, leaving the final to be contested by Ukraine and Azerbaijan.
Great Britain depart from the European Championships sitting fifth in the medal table, with one gold and one bronze to their name – Azerbaijan topping the standings with nine medals.
The British team’s first medal of the Championships was secured on day one when Natalie Greenhough got the team off to a flying start with a bronze, finishing behind Russia’s Olga Zabrodskaia and Croatia’s Lucija Breskovic in the -70kg, before Skelley’s gold on Saturday.