Gemma Gibbons knows she needs to perform against the world’s best when it really matters if she has any hope of repeating her Olympic success, after crashing out of the European Games in Baku.
The Olympic silver medallist was among a host of disappointed judokas at the Heydar Ailyev Arena after she was beaten in the -78kg round of 16 by Ukraine’s Victoriia Turks.
Gibbons started the day well with victory over France’s Madeleine Malonga but could not find a way past Turks, and she believes that those are the types of matches she needs to be winning with Rio looming on the horizon.
“I knew the first fight against the French girl was going to be tough so I was really happy to come through that,” she said.
“I'm pretty disappointed with the second fight against Ukrainian girl, I've fought her once before and lost to her.
“I thought I had a good game plan in terms of the style of judo she does and it was working insofar as I was able to stop her throws.
“I started conceding penalties so I was down with 30 or 40 seconds to go and I just had to go for it.
“Maybe I fought it a little bit wrong and should have gone into it a bit differently.
“The second fight was against one of the best girls in the world but I should be beating her so I need to look at the video and see if there is a different plan I can use for that kind of fight.”
Meanwhile Natalie Powell was beaten in the quarter finals by Netherlands’ Marhinde Verkerk but is still in with a shout for bronze after she came through her repechage against Abigel Joo.
Powell now takes on Anamari Klementina Velensek for bronze while elsewhere Sarah Adlington lost in her +78kg round of 16 duel with Iaromka Svitlana.
And in the men’s –90kg Frazer Chamberlain was left distraught as he failed to advance beyond the round of 64 after defeat to Switzerland’s Domenic Wenzinger.
“I'm devastated to be honest with you because I thought I was in good form and was planning for a medal but I've thrown it away,” said Chamberlain.
“My aim was top seven and I've fought the Swiss guy and lost but I was in really good form, the first part of the fight was going really well.
“I controlled it and then I made a simple mistake and it cost me.
“From what I have seen here so far one minute you can be winning and in a medal position and then the next minute you can be losing.
“Judo is a cut throat sport and one minute you can be on top of the world and then the next minute you are down.
“This is one of the toughest competitions in the world and all the top dogs are here.”
© Sportsbeat 2015