Powell continues British judo worlds success with bronze

Powell continues British judo worlds success with bronze

01 September 2017 / 19:21

Natalie Powell produced the performance of a lifetime to win bronze at the World Judo Championships in Budapest - British Judo’s second of the competition.

Two days after teammate Nekoda Davis won -57kg bronze - Great Britain’s first world medal since 2010 - 78kg judoka Powell defeated former world champion Marhinde Verkerk in the bronze medal contest.

It marks the first occasion two British female judokas have won world medals at the same event in 16 years.

Powell, who reached the quarter-finals in Rio last summer, started her world campaign against China’s Kaili Zhang, with a single waza-ari proving enough to topple her opponent.

In the round of 16, the 26-year-old faced Ana Laura Portuondo Isasi with the tie going into golden score have both put in late waza-aris - Powell eventually doing enough to reach the quarter-finals.

There she took on sixth seed Ruika Sato, but it wasn’t to be against the Japanese judoka when Powell was thrown for ippon, sending her into the repechage final where she was given a walkover.

In the battle for bronze, Powell piled the pressure on the Netherlands’ Verkerk, forcing her opponent to pick up two shidos.

And with just a minute to go, she threw Verkerk for ippon, ensuring she would take her place on the podium in Hungary.

“I’m just really happy and glad that all the work I’ve put in has finally paid off and got a medal at the end of the day,” she said.

“It’s just kind of a relief as well. You put all the effort in and for it to pay off is nice.

“I think Rio really helped me today. At the start of the day, I didn’t feel sharp and I had to really dig in for a lot of the fights and I had to go to a place mentally that I learned to do last cycle which before that I wouldn’t have been able to do.”

Elsewhere, there was disappointment for Olympic bronze medallist Sally Conway, as she bowed out in the round of 16, losing to eventual -70kg silver medallist Maria Perez.

British teammate Gemma Howell was also in action in the same category, but, like Conway, fell in the round of 16 in a bout with Brazil’s Maria Portela that went to golden score.

Max Stewart (-90kg) made his debut in Budapest but was unable to defeat his opponent having received a bye into the second round.

Sportsbeat 2017

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