Congratulations to Rachael Hawkes who trains full-time at the Welsh Judo national academy and Talent Cymru member Gregg Varey for their medal winning performances at the Dakar African Open this weekend. Hawkes taking home -70kg silver and Gregg Varey winningbronze at -66kg. Having won a European cup medal earlier in the year, this was Hawkes’ first Continental Open medal and the British fighter made a strong start as she beat Aguirata Kabore (BUR) inside 13 seconds. She then had to grind out her semi-final against Karene Agono Wora (GAB), outlasting her opponent in a tough contest. Ayuk Otay Arrey Sophine (CMR) proved too strong in the final though, leaving Hawkes with silver. Recovering from a serious elbow injury, Varey, added a third Continental Open to his collection with a strong showing in Dakar. He made short work of Moctar Nourou Sourakatou (NIG), winning his first-round fight with just 42 seconds on the clock. His quarter-final was also won inside four minutes as he saw off the challenge of Adebayo Frederic Olympio (TOG). His semi-final saw him take on former African Senior Champion Houd Zourdani (ALG) and the Algerian judoka proved too strong on this occasion. However, Varey made up for any disappointment as he came through his bronze medal fight against Senegal’s Jeannot Diatta, with a waza-ari score proving decisive.

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