Natalie Powell secures fifth place on final day of 2015 Baku European Games

The last and final day of the tournament for Team GB’s jukoa brought the opportunity for five of our athletes to return home with additional Olympic qualification points. Day three of the 2015 Baku European Games ended with Natalie Powell gaining a 5th place in the Heyday Aliyev Arena. 

Starting the day in the -90kg category, triple Pan-American Open medalist, Frazer Chamberlain was facing Domenik Wenzinger (SUI). The British fighter started positively, however towards the end of the contest it was Wenzinger who came out on top and left the mat to prepare for the second round. 
Frazer Chamberlain said: “I am devastated. I was hoping to be in a good form and I wanted to medal like everyone else, however the target was top seven. I had fought Wenzinger before and I lost to him before. The first part of the fight was going really well and a minor error cost me. This is judo, one minute you can beat anyone, next minute the same can happen to you.” 
Meanwhile, Ben Fletcher made a good start in the -100kg category and stunned his opponent, Isaac Bezzina (MLT) for ippon to then meet double Olympic medalist, Henk Grol (NED) in the next round. Grol then went on to fight his way into the final. 
Sarah Adlington had an important first fight against Svitlana Iaromka (UKR). A yuko each with an equal amount of penalties were on the scoreboard until the very end of the contest, where Iaromka took the lead and stepped into the quarter-finals by finishing the match up against Adlington with an ippon. 
Sarah Adlington said: “I am gutted. I probably fought the perfect fight until the last few seconds. I set my goals at the beginning of the year and one of them was to get medal here.” 
London 2012 Olympic silver medallist, Gemma Gibbons began the day with a win against Madeleine Malonga (FRA) in the -78kg category. She then took on Victoria Turks (UKR) who stopped Gibbons progressing any further in the competition.
Gibbons concluded her thoughts: “I had never fought against the French girl before but I knew it was always going to be a tough one and I am pleased I beat her. I am disappointed with the second fight against the Ukranian. I had fought her once before and I had lost to her. I had a good game plan for it this time and it was working in terms being able to stop the throws yet I started to pick up penalties. So I was down by shidos and there were only 30 seconds left so you just go out and go for it and I ended up getting caught. She is one of the top ranked players in the world but I need to be beating them.” 
Natalie Powell was the last of Team GB’s judoka in with a medal chance on the final day of the competition. The 24 year old first defeated Anastasiya Dmirtieva (RUS), which lead her to prepare for the quarter-finals. Here Powell came up against Margined Verkerk (NED) who progressed to the semi-finals and saw Powell enter into the repechage system. It was the Hungarian ace, JOO Abigel, waiting for the Briton to see which of the two would get the chance to fight for bronze. Outstanding tactical skills were on show from Powell and four shidos against Joo allowed her to book a spot for a bronze match up against Anamari Velensek (SLO). Velensek came out the eventual winner of the contest which saw Powell settle for a 5th place.
Natalie Powell said: “For the whole fight I was doing the right things, it was just the last thirty seconds. I have fought her a lot of times before and not been close to her, so for me this was an improvement but to get this close and not take it was a disappointment.”