Natalie Powell scoops bronze medal at Croatian Grand Prix

Under 78kg Commonwealth champion Natalie Powell was the leading light for British Judo on the final day of the Croatian Grand Prix as she scooped another bronze medal for Great Britain.

Powell’s path to bronze involved four fights. In her first round she came from a yuko behind to win by waza-ari against Yahima Ramirez of Portugal and then in less than a minute she took an ippon victory over Kaili Zhang of China to book her place Anamari Velensek of Slovenia which she lost by waza-ari. The welshwoman then went on to fight and win the bronze medal against Madeline Malonga of France on penalties.

Powell said: “I had a fabulous day apart from the semi final which has frustrated me because I was doing well before the score and sticking to my fight plan. I was pleased with the arm lock against the Chinese and happy that I didn’t engage too much in my bronze medal fight as she normally throws me each time we have fought. The most important thing about today is that I have 120 points towards Rio!”

Lead women’s coach Kate Howey, MBE, said: “Natalie fought really well today and gained some valuable points. She was physically more aggressive from the start in each fight and pushed the pace in every fight. Against the Chinese she showed some good transition in winning with an arm-lock for the first time. Overall the women have all put in good performances and will move on the Glasgow in a few weeks time.”

Sarah Adlington (-78kg) took seventh place after she won her first match narrowly on shidos by 2:3 against Ivana Sutalo of Croatia but then lost to Yu Song of China and Santa Pakenyte of Lithuania.

Gary Hall (-90kg) lost early to Nikoloz Sherazadishvili of Spain.

Words by Donna Richardson. Photo by IJF