Olympic silver medallist Gemma Gibbons saluted a reassuring return to international competition as she won gold in the -78kg category at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix.
The 26-year-old battled through a broken thumb to claim -78kg silver at London 2012 last summer and made her first competitive appearance since then at the British Championships last month.
She marked the occasion by winning the -78kg title for the first time and, moving from domestic competition to international, Gibbons was again victorious at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix.
Gibbons defeated home hope Julia Tillmanns first up and then Slovenia’s Annemarie Velensek before seeing off Marhinde Verkerk, who she met in the quarter-finals at London 2012.
She faced Ruika Sato in the final, taking an early lead by waza-ari and yuko and winning the contest and her first IJF World Tour event with an ippon by uchi mata with 12 seconds left.
And Gibbons insists her successful appearance at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix was exactly what she needed as she builds towards more international contests in the coming months.
“It was great to win and to hear the national anthem play for me for the first time was amazing,” said Gibbons.
“I was really pleased I was able to perform at this level and execute some great judo.
“It’s been six months since I have fought against some of the best players in the world and to come away with the gold gives me great confidence going forward to the Turkey GP and the European Championships.”
© Sportsbeat 2013