Natalie Powell won the battle of the Brits in an all GB Bronze medal contest as she defeated Jemima Yeats-Brown in a pulsating match which saw Powell claim her fourth medal of 2018 and 10th Grand Prix Bronze medal of her career.
It was a closely fought contest between the two British athletes as Yeats-Brown came out the blocks the quickest and soon put Powell on the defensive. Ill-discipline from her soon allowed Powell back into the fight however as she picked up two shidos throughout the contest. Powell demonstrated her experience at this weight and soon registered a waza-ari to give her the lead. This forced Yeats-Brown to take a risk and this led to an opening in which Powell took to throw her opponent for ippon to add another bronze medal to her collection.
Powell received a bye in the opening round of the competition and made short work of Australia’s Melanie Wallis in her first contest. Two quick fire waza-aris was enough to see off Wallis within a minute.
Her Quarter Final opponent Beata Pacut from Poland offered very little attacking intent and picked up three shidos within the space of 90 seconds to send Powell into the Semi Finals having spent less than two and a half minutes on the mat.
She came up against Mami Umeki, with the Japanese judoka having dominated Powell in the past with a 7-0 head-to-head record. It would prove to be a similar pattern as Powell was thrown for ippon by Umeki to drop her into the bronze medal contest.
Yeats-Brown defeated a number of high-profile judoka from the -78kg division on her way to the bronze medal contest. Yeats-Brown displayed a confidence on the mat that was undeterred throughout the day as she shocked World No.16 Luise Malzahn in the third round. She could not find a way past Dutch powerhouse Luuise Steenhuis in the semi finals with experience eventually winning out.
Yeats-Brown showed admirable confidence to shrug off that defeat to shock World Masters Gold Medallist and former World Champion Marhinde Verkerk in the repechage to set up the bronze medal contest with Powell.
Max Stewart looked impressive in the early rounds of the -90kg competition as he registered wins over Marc Odenthal (GER) and Zachary Burt (CAN). Both contests went to Golden Score and this seemed to take it’s toll on Stewart eventually as he could not find a way past Japan’s Shiochiro Mukai.
Mukai won this year’s Paris Grand Slam at -90kg so would always prove to be a tricky opponent for Stewart. Early tactics seems to pay dividends however as the Japanese judoka struggled to break Stewart’s defences and picked up a shido. In the dying moments of the contest however, Mukai showed his class as he spotted an opening and threw Stewart for waza-ari and gave the Brit little time to respond as he was eliminated in the third round.
Frazer Chamberlain (-90kg) could not find a way past the second round as he was eliminated at the hands of Israel’s Li Kochman. He looked to heading for an early exit as he fell behind by a waza-ari as he came up against Spain’s Adrian Nacimiento in the first round. Ill-discipline throughout saw his opponent consistently pick up shidos under increased pressure from the Brit. In the dying moments, one final push from Chamberlain saw the Spaniard pick up a third shido. It would be a reversed result in the second round however as Chamberlain picked up three shidos to find himself eliminated.
Sarah Adlington (+78kg) suffered disappointment in the opening round as she was defeated by China’s Yanan Jiang. It was a contest that offered little for either judoka before Jiang spotted an opening to work Adlington onto the mat before holding her down to secure the win.