Two recent IJF World Circuit results have further strengthened Lisa Kearney’s bid for 2012 Olympic qualification. Following the World Cup Bronze in Kazakhstan, Lisa represented Ireland at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. A credible performance produced a 5th place finish that included a notable win over 2011 Grand Slam & Grand Prix medalist Elena Moretti of Italy. Moretti, who recently also won the Rome World Cup, sits two places above Kearney in the Olympic Ranking list so there was more than a quarter final place at stake when they met in Abu Dhabi. A Golden Score win for Ireland set up a medal fight with tournament favourite and eventual Gold medalist, Yamagishi of Japan. Lisa competed well with Yamagishi but got caught chasing the contest with 4 seconds remaining.
A last minute decision to participate in the Apia World Cup proved to be a prudent move as Lisa went on to win a Silver medal in Samoa last weekend. A very small but very strong entry made the long journey to the South Pacific, 5 of the field have won 8 World Cup Gold medals in 2011 alone. A very important semi final win against European Medalist Ana Hormingo from Portugal was the highlight of the event for Kearney and set up a final contest with Paula Pareto of Argentina. The Olympic medalist scored Yuko in the first 30 seconds and Lisa struggled to get near her for the rest of the match. Nevertheless a 5th, Bronze and Silver in consecutive IJF events reflects the good form Lisa is currently showing. She will take that good form into the remaining IJF events in 2011, the Amsterdam Grand Prix – November 2011, Tokyo Grand Slam & Qingdao Grand Prix – December 2011.