Gemma Gibbons has been pre-selected for the Senior World Championships in Rio and will join the 2013 EJU Castelldefels Training Camp, taking place between 6 and 12 July 2013 in Barcelona, Spain as her first international training session back after injury.
The newly-wed Olympic silver medallist has been out of action since March with a broken wrist but is now fighting fit and back in training preparing for the World Championships in Rio after being chosen last week along with Sally Conway (- 70kg) Natalie Powell – (78kg) and Ashley McKenzie (-60kg).
During her time out she wed fellow judoka Euan Burton, with the pair seeing the injury as an opportunity to bring the wedding forward rather than wait until after the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014.
Gemma’s GB coach Kate Howey, who led her to Olympic glory in London 2012 hopes that Castelldefels will prepare her for her return to competition.
Kate believes Gemma will be ready for Castelldefels as she has been back in training in Edinburgh with a multitude of coaches in Ratho for a few weeks strengthening and conditioning herself.
Kate said: “Her recovery has been great and in between that she has had a wedding because she was out of action from judo for a while. Fresh from her honeymoon, she is now back in training and concentrating on strengthening exercises through weights.
“Thankfully it was a clean break and she spent six weeks in a cast. It happened when she in the weights room and she trapped it under a bar.
“She is more than ready and I can’t wait to see her fighting fit.”
Castelldefels is one of the most demanding training camps in the circuit, according to Kate. There will be lots of top judoka for Gemma face in randori – players from Japan, Poland and France as well as her own GB squad peers.
Gemma has slipped a little in the rankings during her absence to 13, but she is still comfortably in the top 16.
“Ideally we wanted her to be in the top eight by now but seeing as she has only done four or five competitions since the London Games being plagued by injury – including a broken thumb, during London 2012, it is not a bad position to be in,” said Kate.
“Her pre-selection for the World Championships just shows how strong a player she is to still be up there after a long period out.”
Meanwhile, in the same -78kg category, Natalie Powell will also join the training camp after winning a bronze win at the recent Miami Grand Prix which pushed her through to the top 16 of the IJF World Ranking list.
“It is healthy to have some quality fighters in the same depth and we aim to have four or five fighters in each weight,” said Kate.
“They are now pushing each other. It is an exciting time for women’s judo.”
Gemma said: “At the moment everyone is trying to get as many world ranking points as possible, which is what I would have been doing if I had not broken my wrist.
“With the results the rest of the squad are getting at the moment, I am confident we can have a good team going out to Brazil which is capable of getting medals like we did in London.”
Words by Donna Richardson.