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CHELSIE GILES said that winning bronze in the country where judo was founded was “extra special” as she collected Great Britain’s first medal of the Tokyo Olympics.
The Coventry judoka overcame Macedonia’s Arbresha Rexhepi and Morocco’s Soumiya Iraoui in the women’s -52kg category today before losing to home favourite and eventual gold medallist Uta Abe at the quarter-final stage.
But the repechage offered the 24-year-old an alternative route to a podium place and she duly grasped the chance, defeating Belgium’s Charline van Snick and then Switzerland’s Fabienne Kocher by Ippon at the Nippon Budokan.
“It feels very special to do it in Japan,” Giles said. “It’s an amazing arena, the atmosphere was amazing, and to do it where judo started makes it extra special.
“I felt really good in the warm-up and I was taking each fight as it came. It went really well, I believed that I could do it and my coach has always believed I can do it and it showed in my performances.
“I never underestimate any of my fights, I think that’s when mistakes are made, so I go into the fight knowing what they do and knowing what I’m capable of doing.”
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