Greenhough takes bronze on opening day of European Championships
Natalie Greenhough helped get Great Britain off to a successful start at the IBSA European Judo Championships with bronze on day one in Walsall.
Seventh at last year’s Paralympic Games in Rio last year, Greenhough added a first senior major championship medal to her CV following a number of strong performances in the -70kg category at the University of Wolverhampton Sports Complex.
She was one of three Brits in action on the opening day with Evan Malloy also finishing seventh on his European Championship debut while Connah Anders went down bravely in the first round.
The European Championships is one of the first major events of the Tokyo 2020 cycle and Crawley Judo Club’s Greenhough certainly showed signs of intent on Friday, coming through some tough fights to secure a medal.
She was thrown for an ippon by Lucija Breskovic to miss out on a chance to go for gold but there was nevertheless plenty of reason to smile.
EPC Academy Programme’s Denny Robert said: “She’s been training hard. It’s great experience again to pick up that medal and hopefully that will and inspire her onto the next Games.”
Molloy was also impressive on debut in the -73kg category, beating Sweden’s Oscar Widegreen first up.
Reigning Paralympic Champion Ramil Gasimov proved too powerful at the quarter-final stage but Molloy picked himself up to beat Georgia’s Ivane Bibilashvili via osaekomi to move into the repechage final.
The winner of that would go into the bronze medal match but Ukraine’s Serhii Kotenko forced Molloy to tap out via juji-gatame, leaving the Brit settling for seventh.
“I feel absolutely amazing because the fact that this is my first world ranking event, for it to be the European Championships, to get that placing I think is absolutely amazing,” Evan Molloy
“I think it’s been very valuable because we come into this competition with me thinking ‘At the end of the day all the top players they’ve got something to lose and I don’t’.”
Anders was in action in the -66kg category but found his path blocked at the first round stage by Magnos Nhanco of Portugal.
Saturday sees the heavyweight judokas take centre stage with Elliot Stewart (-90kg), Chris Skelley (-100kg) and Jack Hodgson (+100kg) in action.
Photo credit: British Judo