No medal but Abbi remains upbeat

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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, Abbi (16), who fights at -52kg, lost in her quarter-final to Romania’s Teodora Balasoiu meaning she ended up in seventh after the repechage.

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

She said: “Obviously I wanted to medal but I did not come here expecting to do that. My judo technique and my all-around play felt much better. 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.”

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

She added: “I would love to be at a real Olympics one day, that’s the goal and this has shown me what I can expect. I have more work to do in my training, I know that, but this week has been fantastic.”