Coventry local joins exclusive judo medal club – 5 things about Chelsie Giles

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Coventry judoka Chelsie Giles won Great Britain’s first medal of the Tokyo Olympics, taking bronze in the women’s -52kg repechage.

Her victory over Switzerland’s Fabienne Kocher was only Britain’s third Olympic judo medal in the last 21 years.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five things about Giles.

A family business

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – Day Two
Chelsie Giles displays her bronze medal won at the Tokyo Olympics (Danny Lawson/PA)

Giles is not the only outstanding judo exponent in her family. Her brother Joshua has also represented Great Britain, travelling to Tbilisi in Georgia for a Grand Slam competition last year and being a competitor at the World Junior Championships in Morocco two years earlier.

Judo over gymnastics

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Giles, meanwhile, took up judo at the age of eight, initially combining it with gymnastics for five years before concentrating on a sport that has now seen her claim an Olympic Games podium place.

Giles joins an exclusive club

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Giles’ success in Tokyo means she becomes only the sixth British female judoka to win an Olympic medal. Britain claimed three at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics through Sharon Rendle, Nicola Fairbrother and Kate Howey, who also won a silver in Sydney eight years later. Giles’ bronze makes it three successive Games with a medal, following Karina Bryant (2012) and Sally Conway (2016).

Wolverhampton hotbed of Judo talent

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Giles is currently studying for a business management degree at the University of Wolverhampton, alongside a number of other judoka sports scholars. Fellow Wolverhampton student Lucy Renshall is also competing in Tokyo, while Kelly Petersen-Pollard and Amy Livesey competed at the International Judo Federation’s World Tour tournament in Tel Aviv earlier this year.

Proud of local connections

Neil Adams and Neil Eckersley – Great Britain Judo – Heathrow Airport, London
British judo Olympic medallists Neil Adams) (left) and Neil Eckersley (PA Archive)

Coventry Judo Club is where it all started for Giles. Initially, she used to watch her brother train, but then she was invited to take up the sport, and she has never looked back. Speaking to the Leamington Observer last year after winning gold at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam event, she said: “My home club, Coventry, is the biggest support, and I get messages all the time. They lend me so much spirit, and I want to make them proud. I like seeing Neil Adams (twice an Olympic silver medallist) on the tour, as he is from Coventry too, so it’s a little boost to feel I am a positive part of his legacy as well.”

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