By Mike Rowbottom

Ashley_McKenzie_Nov_9November 20 - Ashley McKenzie has become Britain's second under-23 European champion, following in the footsteps of Craig Fallon, who earned the title in 2004, and Gemma Howell has replicated her result of 2008 in winning bronze.

The gold medal at the Championships taking place in Sarajevo, Bosnia, is a career best for the 21-year-old who last year settled for bronze at the event in the -60kg weight category.

McKenzie, a bronze medallist last year, put on an impressive display throughout the day, winning three out of four fights by ippon.

After a bye in the first round, he defeated Yanislav Gerchev of Bulgaria and Andrej Klovoc of Lithuania to reach the semi-final against Olle Sundstroem of Sweden, whom he defeated with an ippon throw.

McKenzie then took on Robert Mshvidobadze of Russia, the 2009 U23 European Championship silver medallist, in the final. The Briton was the first to score, gaining a yukom and he kept the pressure on the Russian by going further ahead as he scored a waza-ari.

Howell, from Telford, defeated Ana Tatalovic of Slovenia and Alessia Regis of Italy in the preliminaries, but her progress was halted in the semi-final by the 2008 and 2009 U23 European silver medallist Stefania Andreea Chitu of Romania.

Howell, who trains full time at the British Judo Performance Institute in Dartford, ensured another medal by defeating Mia Hermansson of Sweden, who at 17 years old has four junior European Cup medals to show this year.

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