No Gold In Land Of Pharaohs But Brits Don’t Leave Egypt Empty Handed
Olympic champion, Jade Jones, isn’t the only GB athlete world number one, Eva Calvo Gomez, has to worry about in 2015 on the evidence of last weekend’s Luxor Open.
In Jones’ absence, the Spanish girl underlined her credentials as one of the contenders for Rio 2016 gold by winning the -57kg title.
But the four-time World Grand Prix champion was pushed all the way in the quarters and semi-finals by teenagers Nicole Huntington from Ipswich and Wigan’s Rachelle Booth.
Calvo-Gomez used her greater experience to win both contests in sudden death, golden point before beating Turkey’s Durdane Altunel in the final.
However, GB Performance Director, Gary Hall, was delighted by the displays of 18-year-old Huntington and Booth, 19. Huntington was one of five Manchester trained GB Academy athletes to win bronze medals at the three-day event.
“They were both so close to taking out the world number one,” agreed Hall after the squad returned home earlier today. (Monday) “There is only Jade who has beaten Calvo Gomez but Nicky and Rachelle really pushed her hard and made her work for those wins.”
Britain’s other medalists were: Lutalo Muhammad and Damon Sansum (both -80kg), Bianca Walkden (+73kg) and Charlie Maddock (-53kg).
London 2012 bronze medalist Muhammad, Tom Smith and the Isle of Man’s Aaron Cook, were all beaten by eventual gold medalist, Oussama Oueslati of Tunisia. Sansum suffered defeat against Cheick Cisse of the Ivory Coast.
Maddock from Stoke on Trent, like Huntington and Booth graduates of the 2013 Fighting Chance initiative, lost her semi-final to Egypt’s African gold medallist,Rada Abdelkader. Liverpudlian Walkden lost against South Korea’s Saebom An, the 2011 World Championship silver medallist.
Christian McNeish and Ruebyn Richards were the best placed Brits at -68kg, both reaching the quarter-finals.
“It was great to get podium finishes in such high level competition,” added Hall. “Obviously, we were looking for golds but five bronzes isn’t a bad total from such quality fields.
“So, it was a good strong performance by the team and continues what has been a successful first two months of the year.”
Jones, who has won her last three competitions, will compete in Switzerland this weekend together with youngster Max Cater.