British VI Judoka picked up some impressive wins at the 5th International Judo Grand Prix Infraero in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday 5 March.
Photograph Courtesy of ParalympicsGB
The four VI Judoka selected to represent ParalympicsGB later this year had the opportunity to test themselves against a world-class field in Rio. For Jonathan Drane (-81kg) it was his first competition back since a knee injury kept him out of most of the last year and he impressed with a hard fought bronze medal only losing to 2012 Paralympic champion Olexandr Kosinov (UKR) before producing the throw of the day against Cyril Jonard from France to take bronze.
He was joined on the podium by Sam Ingram (-90kg) and Chris Skelley (-100kg) both of whom also came away with bronze medals. Ingram produced some impressive judo in beating two Brazilian judokas first up before losing an exciting semi-final against his London 2012 final opponent Jorge Hierrezuelo Marcillis (CUB). Ingram came back well in the bronze contest and took the medal with a dominant display.
Skelley also came up against strong opposition as he defeated his first two opponents with a mix of groundwork and standing judo before losing out to former Paralympic champion Oleg Kretsul (RUS) in the semi-final. This dropped the British judoka into the bronze medal match-up against London 2012 silver medalist Myles Porter (USA) but Skelley was able to force his opponent to tap out via strangling and take the contest.
Jack Hodgson (+100kg) just missed out on a medal losing his bronze medal contest to Russia’s World Games champion Gaiderov and finished in fifth place.
Head Coach Ian Johns was happy with his team’s performance on the day:
“All in all, I am very happy with the performance of the team. This was an exceptionally tough event with most of the athletes that have qualified for the Games there.
“The Grand Prix was special this year in that it is here in Rio, the lads have put down some great markers for the Games. In each of the losses we have learnt something and we were able to demonstrate again on the world scene the ability of our very talented team. A job well done.”