Powell wins battle of Brits to take European bronze

Powell wins battle of Brits to take European bronze

23 April 2016 / 20:37

Natalie Powell was all smiles after boosting her Rio hopes with a bronze medal at the European Judo Championships in Kazan, Russia.

Powell had looked in good form as she progressed through the -78kg rounds to the semi-finals where she faced world number four Guusje Steenhuis of the Netherlands.

Despite a late surge she was unable to take victory, leaving her to go up against British teammate and London 2012 silver medallist Gemma Gibbons for bronze.

When the two last fought at the Paris Grand Slam, Powell had won a tight contest on shidos.

And this time she pulled off a big throw to take the contest by ippon and claim Britain’s second medal of the Championships following Colin Oates’ -66kg silver on Thursday.

“I’m so happy! I came into these European Championships fitter and stronger than I have ever been,” she said.

“My aim was to win the Europeans but I am happy with bronze. I am really happy!”

Elite performance coach Kate Howey added: “There have been some good performances today with Ben (Fletcher's) seventh and Gemma and Natalie fighting for bronze and Natalie winning her first European medal.

“I said before the tournament we wanted the players to perform the best that they could and throughout the whole championships the players have performed and the results have come.

“This is the best set of results since 2006 which is good in Olympic year.”

Sportsbeat 2016