Ashley McKenzie feels he started Olympic year on the front foot as the British judoka fought for the first time in nearly 12 months at the Doha Masters.

The two-time Olympian claimed the scalp of Brazil's Felipe Kitadai in -60kg second round before falling to European silver medallist Yago Abuladze in the third.

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Leading Britain back in the World Tour fray for the first time since the Dusseldorf Grand Slam in February 2020, McKenzie was pleased with his return to action.

"It was great to be back on the mat again after ten months away," said the 31-year-old.

"I felt I gave a good account of myself considering the time away. While it's a tough loss to take, I can take the positives as I look ahead to the remainder of the year.

"With the Olympics, World Championships and European Championships coming up this year, it's really exciting.

"I want to qualify for my third Games and am in a good position to do that, I just need to keep performing to the level I know I am capable of."

McKenzie dominated his contest with London 2012 medallist Kitadai, forcing him to give away three penalty shidos for passivity, enough to hand the Brit victory.

He was equally proactive against Abuladze, scoring Waza-ari early on only for the Russian to reply with a Waza-ari of his own within seconds.

The contest went to Golden Score - a period McKenzie dominated but Abuladze managed a second Waza-ari to seal progress.

Meanwhile, Chelsie Giles missed out in a cagey first-round contest with Portugal's Joana Ramos at -52kg.

Giles, ranked No.17 in the world, was thrown for Waza-ari by Ramos in the Golden Score period.

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