Rio Olympics 2016: Judo duo Davis and McKenzie bow out after valiant attempts
PUBLISHED: 21:10 09 August 2016 | UPDATED: 10:28 10 August 2016
PA Wire/Press Association Images
A defiant Nekoda Smythe-Davis remains convinced she will one day achieve her Olympic dream, after her journey in Rio came to an end in the last-16 of the Judo competition.
Davis, 23, ensured her Olympic debut would be one to remember as she sailed past Austrian veteran Sabrian Filzmoser in the -57kg category first-round clash in Brazil.
However, she faced a trickier draw to get past the last-16 as she faced France’s Automne Pavia, ranked third in the world and a bronze medallist at the 2012 Olympics.
And that proved a step too far for the Cricklewood-born youngster, who lost after her opponent scored a yuko with a harai-goshi throw one minute and 51 seconds into the four-minute match.
She said: “You get beaten on the day, that’s just the way it is. You’ve got to come back stronger and fitter.
“I 100% believe my day will come. I know I will be world champion, European champion and, hopefully, Olympic champion one day.”
“I gave it everything in that match. I knew Pavia was going to be a tough fight and the rest of my day was going to be hard as well.
“That’s just judo – you have a hard draw and you can get beaten on the day.
“But I know I’ve given it my all and believed in myself and with the preparation I’ve had, I’ve done everything I could have possibly done.”
“It was hard when I tore my MCL in my knee 10 weeks ago and it was quite a serious injury.
“I’ve only been back on the mat for three or four weeks so it’s been a tough journey.
“My performance against Filzmoser was the best I’ve ever beaten her. But Pavia just caught me and it was hard to come back from that.
“There’s definitely no one here who I think is as mentally strong as I am though – I’ll be back.”
Elsewhere, a heartbroken Ashley McKenzie was left to ponder on what might have been after he was knocked out in the second round of the men’s Under-60 category.
McKenzie came up short in his quest for a first Olympic medal after world champion Yeldos Smetov edged past the 27-year-old by a single point on Sunday.
It could have gone either way, with world No 4 Smetov sparing himself from elimination in the last 30 seconds of the fight, after a valiant effort from the Willesden judoka.
A tearful McKenzie posted a photo of himself crying on the ground on Instagram with the message: (sic) “This explain a lot of things!!
“I think the tears are because of my hard work over four years, putting my family through stuff.
“I just want to thank them and my friends for everything they have done for me.”