Natalie Powell was Great Britain’s stand out performer today (21st February) with a fifth place on the final day of the Dusseldorf Grand Prix. The result today added to Alice Schlesinger’s silver medal yesterday and Nekoda Davis’s medal on Friday. Sally Conway also took a fifth place yesterday.
Powell was in good form from the outset, defeating Maike Ziech with a yuko score in front of the German’s home crowd. The attacks continued in the second round, with Powell throwing Mongolian, Lkhamdegd Purevjargal, for ippon just over half way through the contest.
One of the toughest tests of the preliminary rounds for Powell was the quarter-final match up against world number four and 2015 Tyumen and Baku Grand Slam winner, Guusje Steenhuis (NED). The contest went the full four minutes with neither judoka able to get a score on the board, however, it was Powell the winner with a shido the difference.
Luise Malzahn of Germany was waiting in the semi-final for Powell. Scoring early in the contest, Powell took the lead countering a Malzahn attack for yuko. However, a nice combination from the German judoka saw Powell lose the contest by ippon and fight for bronze in the final block.
Facing Slovenian judoka Anamari Velensek for bronze, Powell got caught on the ground and was held down for the full 20 seconds, forcing the Brit to settle for a 5th place finish.
Speaking on her performance today, Powell said: “The day was good and I fought well, but I made a mistake in each fight that I lost and paid the price. I have learnt a lot today and will work on a few things ready for Georgia.”
Lead Performance Coach, Kate Howey, said: “Natalie fought well today and is consistently around the medals in every competition she does, but a few mistakes today cost her a place on the rostrum. She will now have a training camp in Brazil and get ready for the next competition in Georgia.”
There were also good wins for Sarah Adlington (+78kg), Ben Fletcher (-100kg) and Frazer Chamberlain (-90kg). However, they were unable to make it beyond their second contests of the day. Gary Hall (-90kg) lost out in the first round when, after some deliberation, the officials awarded hansoku-make against the British judoka.
British judoka will next be in action at the European Opens in Warsaw, Poland (Women) and Prague, Czech Republic (Men) – 27-28th February 2016.