By British Judo
Great Britain will take an eight-strong team to the 2018 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA Judo World Championships in Odivelas, Portugal from 16 – 18 November.
The team includes five judoka with Paralympic Games experience: Natalie Greenhough (-70kg), Daniel Powell (-81kg), Chris Skelley (-100kg), Jack Hodgson (+100kg) and two-time Paralympic medallist Sam Ingram (-100kg).
Connah Anders (-66kg), Evan Molloy (-73kg) and Elliot Stewart (-90kg) will be making their World Championships debuts in Odivelas.
The Championships is also one of the first events on the IBSA Judo calendar that goes towards qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Ingram and Skelley will both be looking to back up some impressive results over the last 12 – 18 months.
Skelley is the current European champion and has won silver at the Tashkent and Atyrau World Cups.
Credit: Mike Varey, elitepix
Ingram, who has moved up from -90kg, has shown his class at the higher weight with gold in Tashkent last year and silver at the Antayla World Cup in April of this year.
Stewart, son of 1988 Olympic judo bronze medallist Dennis Stewart, has only been fighting at international level since August 2017 but has already won bronze medals in Tashkent and Antalya.
His brother Max is also a high-level judoka and is looking to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Powell is fighting at his first major Championships since the London 2012 Paralympics. His father Terry Powell is a former two-time Paralympic medallist.
Greenhough and Hogdson have continued to medal during this cycle with bronze at the 2017 Europeans and silver at the Tashkent World Cup to their names respectively. Both will be looking to win their first World Championships medals in Portugal though Hodgson did win silver at the IBSA World Games in 2015.
For Anders and Molloy, this event represents another opportunity to develop against the best judoka in their weights.
British Judo Performance Director Nigel Donohue said:
“As always, we’re excited to take on the best in the world at a major Championships.
“The standard of visually impaired judo is improving year on year but our judoka are showing that they are of the level with some fantastic results in this cycle.
“There’s still a lot of hard work to be done ahead of Odivelas but we’re confident that if everyone performs to their best then the results will come.”
Natalie Greenhough (women's up to 70kg)
Connah Anders (men's up to 66kg)
Evan Molloy (men's up to 73kg)
Daniel Powell (men's up to 81kg)
Elliot Stewart (men's up to 90kg)
Sam Ingram (men's up to 100kg)
Chris Skelley (men's up to 100kg)
Jack Hodgson (men's up to 100kg)
The 2018 IBSA Judo World Championships mark the start of the qualification process for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Athletes will be able to secure points towards their place in the world rankings, which will determine their ticket to the Paralympics.
Nearly 300 athletes from more than 30 countries are expected to compete.
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