WILL THE WOLF SURVIVE?
Amin Badr has guaranteed Britain’s first medal of the European Championships to compensate for early disappointments for home players on the opening morning of competition in Manchester.
The 17-year-old Londoner, making his senior European debut, is through to the semi-finals of the -54kg weight division to ensure himself a bronze medal.
Badr, proud owner of a pet wolf, Khai, will face Mikayil Aliyev for a place in the final at the Regional Arena.
And the 2011 National Junior champion certainly revived home spirits following set backs for team mates, Jemma Johnson and Damon Sansum.
Indeed, for Southampton based Johnson, 25, it was a bad case of déjà vu after losing for a second successive tournament to Sondess Ben Tahar of France. After three close rounds, Johnson went down 6-4.
Former World kick boxer Sansum hoped for an extended run in the Championships, especially after winning the German Open in Hamburg earlier this year.
However, he found the transition tough from -80kg to heavyweight (+87kg) and also made an early exit. Leading 3-0 after the first round, the Elgin based star went out 6-5 on golden point to German Volker Wodzich.
At least the duo made it onto the mats. There was disappointment for Liverpool’s Sophie Dickson (-62kg) forced to withdraw from the tournament at the 11th hour due to a groin strain.
GB Performance Director Gary Hall said:”Sophie suffered the injury at the start of the week and sadly there was no way she could participate. But she is only just out of the juniors and has plenty of years ahead of her.
“Jemma lost a close fight at the Dutch Open and it was close again today. I am sure she will learn from the experience.
“Damon was hoping for big things, unfortunately he just missed out against a very good player. However, that’s the way sport goes at times.
“But he did a great job making the weight and can be proud of his efforts.”