Olympic byes for Shropshire judo pair

Two members of Shropshire’s judo triumvirate this afternoon moved a step closer an Olympic medal – after receiving first-round byes.

Shropshire’s Olympic trio Kelly Edwards, Danny Williams and Gemma Howell
Shropshire’s Olympic trio Kelly Edwards, Danny Williams and Gemma Howell

Two members of Shropshire’s judo triumvirate this afternoon moved a step closer an Olympic medal – after receiving first-round byes.

Telford’s Kelly Edwards and Danny Williams of Shrewsbury both received direct entry into the last 16 of their respective weight categories at today’s draw.

That is a significant boost for the pair preparing for their first Olympics but Gemma Howell, also of Telford, has been handed a testing opener.

A tough battle also awaits Edwards when she takes to the mat at the ExCeL Arena in the under-48kgs category on Saturday, with the 21-year-old’s second-round opponent either Japan’s world No.2 Tomoko Fukumi or Spain’s Oiana Blanco, who is ranked tenth.

Howell, like Edwards a former Thomas Telford School pupil, is in first-round action on Tuesday and will be tested to the full in her under-63kgs opener against France’s world No.2 Gevrice Emane in the -63kgs on Tuesday.

Williams also skips the first round before facing world No.30 Rasul Boqiev of Tajikistan at under-73kgs on Monday.