Ashley_McKenzie_Nov_9November 10 - An 11-strong team to battle it out in the under-23 European Championships in Sarajevo, Bosnia, later this month has been announced by the British Judo Association (BJA).

Ashley McKenzie (pictured) returns to contest the -60kg weight category at the event, where he secured a bronze medal last year.

McKenzie has been in fine form recently having won a gold medal at the Swedish Open and golds at the British Open and German European Cup.

The team, which will compete over three days from November 19-21, also includes 2008 under-23 bronze medal winner Gemma Howell, who has again been selected to contest the -57kg weight category.

Since her return from injury in May, Howell has won gold medals at the British Open, Slovenian European Cup and Orenburg European Cup and has also been training full time at the British Judo Performance Institute.

Also competing again this year after finishing in seventh place in 2009 is Kate Walker (-63kg) and Jan Gosiewski (-73kg).

Forced to withdraw last year due to a shoulder injury, Kimberley Renicks (-48kg) will make her final appearance at the event this year.

Three younger players, Lewis Keeble (-66kg), Josh Butler (-100kg) and Kelly Edwards (-52kg, have been selected to compete for GB.

All three have gained significant experience this year at various events on the world circuit.

Edwards, who usually fights at -48kg, competed in the senior World and European Championships and "didn't look out of place among the senior fighters," said head coach Patrick Roux.

Completing the line-up are Theo Spalding-McIntosh (-90kg), who was absent from the line-up last year due to a knee injury, Megan Fletcher (-70kg) and David Groom (-81kg).

Groom has been working hard after an academic break from the sport.

He has been training full-time for the past year between Bacup and Kendal Judo Clubs and visiting the BJPI for various training camps.

BJA performance operations manager Karen Roberts said: "This event will provide an opportunity for these transition players to connect to a strong international level in preparation for their senior careers.

"For the younger players this is a good event to build on their performance at junior level and develop for the future."

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