On the final day of the European Championships in Sofia, Natalie Powell finished in 7th place.
Following an opening round bye, Powell defeated recent Tel Aviv Grand Slam champion Beata Pacut (POL) in Round 2. Powell registering a waza-ari score in the opening exchange as the contest entered Golden Score.
A Quarter-Final defeat to European U23 Champion Alina Boehm (GER), by a single waza-ari score, saw Powell progress to the Repechage to face Olympic silver medallist, Madeleine Malonga (FRA) for a place in the bronze medal contest.
There was nothing between the two fighters as they traded shidos. With the scorecard even at 2 shidos each, the contest entered the final 60-seconds where Powell registered a waza-ari score.
In the next exchange Powell was further penalised for stepping out the contest area and was awarded a third shido.
Defeat meant Powell finished in 7th.
Speaking after the event Powell said: “I have been building my training since January and I came here, knowing it wasn’t the main goal for the year, but confident that I could challenge for a medal.”
Coming into Sofia Powell had only competed once since her bronze medal at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in November:“I did feel off the pace, I got a great result in the opening round, but I felt my rhythm wasn’t quite there.”
Powell started to look like the fighter of old as the day progressed: “Against Malonga I found my fight again and I was disappointed not to win.
“I was so invested in that fight that I thought I had won it with that score. I’m so embarrassed as I thought we were in Golden Score!
“The following exchange I just couldn’t quite get my hand on and that cost me a place in the bronze medal contest, but it has shown me that I still belong on this stage and I can’t wait to get back out there again.”
Rhys Thompson (-100kg) faced Bojan Dosen (SRB) in the opening round. Thompson registered a waza-ari as the clock passed 90-seconds. Thompson continued to dominate the contest; a score up, and with Dosen having two shidos to his name, Thompson registered a second waza-ari to safely progress to the second round.
In Round 2 Thompson conceded two shidos in the opening 30-seconds before his opponent, Simeon Catharina (NED) registered a waza-ari score. Thompson battled back to even the score but the experience of his opponent saw him progress. Nevertheless, Thompson gave a great account of himself on his European debut.
Following an opening round bye, Emma Reid was defeated by the current European U23 Champion Patricia Sampaio (POR) in Golden Score.