Romford judoka Staddon is 'super happy' to bag bronze at European Championships
PUBLISHED: 14:15 17 November 2017
Romford's Kelly Staddon has been celebrating after winning a bronze medal at the European under-23 Championships in Podgorica, Montenegro.
Staddon has enjoyed a good second half to the 2017 season, with gold at the Saarbruecken Senior European Cup and silver at the Belgrade European Open.
And she started her latest bid for glory with a win over Italian Elisa Adrasti, dominating from the start and throwing her rival for waza-ari, which was upgraded to ippon.
European Junior bronze medalist Gultaj Mammadaliyeva, of Azerbaijan, went on the attack in the first exchange of the quarter-final, with Staddon countering well to score waza-ari.
And the Ford Judo Club judoka showed her contest management skills to hold off Mammadaliyeva and book a place in the last four.
Top seed Maria Siderot, from Portugal, had come through a couple of tough bouts but showed her class to throw Staddon for ippon.
But having already improved on last year’s seventh place, her gripping put Madalina Stoica under pressure as she forced the Romanian to get two shidos inside a minute of the bronze-medal bout for defensive posture and stepping out.
Staddon picked up a shido for a gripping infringement but Stoica dropped under pressure to pick up a third and final shido.
Staddon said: “My focus has been on getting my competition and training load high. I struggled with injuries in 2016 and this didn’t help with nerves or my confidence in bigger events.
“I have more confidence in my judo lately, so leading up to this event I was excited to show my improvements. Mentally I’ve noticed a really positive change.
“This year I have performed against some of the top girls, and got some of my best results, so to end the year with my first championship medal is a great stepping stone for me.
“Matt was great with me. He made sure I kept focused on my performance and to take each exchange at a time, instead of thinking of the end result.
“I’m super happy to win the medal for us both. I had a clear gripping pattern for my bronze fight and, although I would’ve preferred to have finished with a throw, I’m happy I showed patience and let the plan work. Now I need to get ready for the Hague Grand Prix.”