Gibbons & Powell both medal on day two of Croatian Grand Prix

Great Britain had a successful return to action following the recent World Championships by ending the IJF Grand Prix in Croatia with another two bronze medals to add to the gold and bronze won yesterday.

Olympic silver medallist Gemma Gibbons, Natalie Powell and Sarah Adlington all fought for bronze on the final day of competition in Rejika.

Gibbons and Powell both won -78kg bronze medals but Adlington had to settle for fifth in the +78kg category.

Gibbons, world number 12, continued her comeback from injury by matching her result at the recent Moscow Grand Slam.

She beat Spaniard Marta Tort Merino by two yukos in the first round but then lost by waza-ari to Slovenian Anamari Velensek in the semi-final before claiming victory over another Spanish judoka in the shape of Laia Talarn, by ippon in her bronze-medal match.

Meanwhile, Powell’s competition started with a narrow win by yuko over home judoka Ivana Maranic but then stalled with defeat in the semi-final to former Olympic bronze medallist, South Korea’s Gyeong-Mi Jeong by ippon.

However, at the same time as Gibbons was winning her bronze, Powell did the same on an adjacent mat with victory by ippon against German Annika Heise.

Adlington won her first +78kg match against Ivana Sutalo on her opponent’s home soil by waza-ari but then lost out to Jasmin Kuelbs of Germany by ippon before succumbing to another ippon by Larisa Ceric of Bosnia Herzegovina in her medal match to finish fifth overall.

Speaking after the match, Gibbons said: “It was great to get another medal at this level. I’m still way off my best but looking forward to seeing what I can do when I am back to top form.”

Powell added: “I’m pleased at the way I have bounced back after my disappointment in Rio. The points will hopefully boost my ranking.”

GB’s lead coach for women, Kate Howey added: “It was a great performance by all three girls today, all of them showed they can throw well and the -78kg girls showed great transition in their bronze-medal fights.

“They have all picked up valuable world ranking points. All the women did well overall, taking a gold, two bronzes, a fifth and a seventh place.”

In the men’s -81kg category, Miami Grand Prix winner Tom Reed beat Hannes Conrad of Germany in a golden score period in the first round but then narrowly lost out by yuko to Carlos Luz of Portugal.

Reed then went into repechage but lost by ippon to Russian Dimity Yartsev, who was already leading by a yuko and waza-ari at the time to claim seventh place.

Matt Purssey (-90kg), who came third in the 2012 Olympic Test and was a bronze medallist in San Salvador, also exited early after losing by yuko to Slovenian Mihael Zgank.