Abbi takes positives from European match in Team GB debut performance

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BORDERS judoka Abbi Blackie narrowly missed out on a medal at the European Youth Olympic Festival, but took great confidence from an impressive showing.

Competing in Utrecht, Blackie, who fights at -52kg, lost in her quarter-final to Romania’s Teodora Balasoiu, meaning she ended up in seventh after the repechage.

The 16-year-old, who attends Earlston High School, needed a top-five finish to make it to the World Cadet Championships in Miami in August. But despite the disappointment, Blackie remained upbeat about her debut for Team GB in the Netherlands.

“Obviously I wanted to win a medal, but I did not come here expecting to do that,” she said. I went out in the first round at the Europeans earlier this month, so this is a big improvement on that and I am pleased. My judo technique and my all-round play felt much better.

“I had a moment when I almost caught her so I take positives from this performance. My technique was great and I won my second round very quickly with a throw I have not used in a long time.

“I need to get a bit stronger and I will come back for the juniors next year much better, this is a good season for me with a bronze in a cup and seventh here.”

Team GB sent a 44-strong squad to the festival, competing across five different sports.

In addition to judo, where Blackie’s teammate Peter Miles grabbed a silver on Tuesday, there was swimming, cycling, tennis and gymnastics.

And after her first taste of the Olympic experience and pulling on the Team GB kit, Blackie admitted Utrecht had just made her hungrier for the real thing.

“I would love to be at a real Olympics one day, that’s the goal, and this has shown me what I can expect at one,” she added.

“I have more work to do in my training, I know that, but this week has been fantastic and I cannot wait for next season.”

The British Olympic Association prepares and leads British athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. It works in partnership with sports national governing bodies to enhance Olympic success and is responsible for championing the Olympic values.