A fifth place finish for Natalie Powell at the St Petersburg World Masters on Sunday 17 December brought the curtain down on GB Judo’s efforts on the 2017 IJF World Tour.
The WRL 2 at -78kg has had her most successful year including World bronze in Budapest and she started her day with a solid win over Beata Pacut of Poland.
The Polish judoka got out the blocks fast but two quick waza-ari scores by the British judoka ensured she took control of the contest. With just over a minute left Powell saw an opportunity to apply a strangle and she forced Pacut to tap.
Russia’s Anastasiya Dmitrieva was next up in the quarter-final and it was a tough, physical contest for the British judoka. Neither fighter was able to really dominate and with only a few seconds left Powell got caught in an awkward position and was taken back for waza-ari.
This forced the British fighter down into the repechage final where she faced Brazil’s current world champion Mayra Aguiar. Powell had never beaten the Brazilian before and she looked determined to make up for that in St Petersburg.
In a very tactical contest, both judoka seemed to nullify each other for large parts and as a result both picked up two shidos for passivity with less than minutes gone in the contest.
The contest followed a similar pattern throughout in a very even encounter which went into golden score. Powell continued to apply pressure on her opponent resulting in a weak attack from Aguiar and a third shido against the Brazilian.
WRL 1 Guusje Steenhuis (NED) would be Powell’s opponent for bronze. The British judoka had won their previous encounter in Abu Dhabi and she looked to employ similar tactics once again.
This approach did force two shidos on Steenhuis during regular time with Powell picking one up as well as the clock wound down.
Steenhuis looked to ramp up the pressure in golden score but Powell seemed equal to it and appeared to have won it with an ura-nage almost scoring waza-ari.
However, in attempting the throw she left her arm in vulnerable position which Steenhuis took advantage of to apply juji-gatame and forced Powell to tap.
Also in action today were Sally Conway (-70kg), Gemma Howell (-70kg) and Sarah Adlington (+78kg) with all going out in the first round.
Conway dominated large parts of her first round contest with Aleksandra Samardzic (BIH) but was caught in golden score and thrown for waza-ari.
Howell gave WRL 6 Anna Bernholm (SWE) a tough fight with both judoka level on a shido each going into golden score. After almost two minutes of golden score though the British judoka was forced into a drop attack which resulted in a decisive second shido.
Adlington faced Sandra Jablonskyte (LTH) in the first round and the Lithuanian was just too good on the day, throwing the British fighter for waza-ari before finishing the contest via osaekomi.