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GB to be part of first Judo Grand Slam of the year
A large British delegation is heading out to France next month to be a part
of the huge Paris Grand Slam buzz.
Organised since 1971 in many forms varying from the international tournament
of the Tournoi de Paris, to A-tournament, Super A-tournament and now Grand
Slam, it is still one of the most prestigious tournaments on the world judo
As tradition has built over the years, the French Judo Federation continue
to stage a spectacular event that attracts the World's best and capacity
crowds to watch them, as well as showcasing it live on French TV.
Four players have been selected to compete in the event, and Performance
Director Margaret Hicks has taken the "opportunity for a larger group of
players to train in Paris with some of the best opposition in the world for
the training week that follows the Grand Slam."
Commenting on the small selection Hicks said, "We have a small group of
elite women who will compete at the Paris Grand Slam, following medals and
top five places in tournaments such as the Korea World Cup and Tokyo Grand
Slam at the end of last year.
"We have a mixture of experience and youth in this group and we hope to see
some further performances during this first Grand Slam of 2011.
"For the men this event is too early within their programme and some players
will be competing later in the World Cups and the German Grand Prix during
the next two months."
Selected to represent Great Britain is Gemma Howell (-57kg), Gemma Gibbons
(-70kg) Karina Bryant (+78kg) and Sarah Adlington (+78kg).
Bryant, who reached her 20th major Championships medal last year with a
bronze at the 2010 European Championships, is yet to capture a medal at a
Grand Slam. With a 5th place finish at the 2010 Paris Grand Slam, the +78kg
fighter will be one to watch on the French stage.
Fast rising judoka and fellow +78kg fighter, Sarah Adlington has been making
her mark on the circuit, winning four World Cup medals and three European
Cup medals last year.
Gemma Gibbons ended 2010 on a high with a bronze medal at the Korean World
Cup, adding to her silver medal at the 2010 GB World Cup that she won in
front of a home crowd in Birmingham in October.
Gemma Howell is the youngest member of the team at just 20-years-old and
impressed at the Paris event in 2009 when she finished in 5th place, and her
profile has been growing since.
Proving she is handling the transition from junior to senior well, the Brit
finished in 7th place at the 2010 Senior World Championships and won a
bronze medal at the U23 European Championships.
The tournament is one of only four Grand Slams on the International Judo
Federation's calendar, joining Moscow, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo and there
are 300 ranking points up for grabs for winning a gold medal.