Powell strikes gold at European University Championships

Great Britain’s top varsity judoka took part in the European University Sports Association’s (EUSA) second European University Championships in Coimbra, Portugal.

The action took place over five days, beginning on Wednesday 2 October and ending on Sunday 6 October, with around 200 competitors representing 70 establishments.

The University of Cardiff’s Natalie Powell (-70kg) struck gold as she represented British University and College Sports, first of all dominating Marie del Puppo of France with a strangle for ippon before beating Dutchwoman Iris Boender by waza-ari and yuko.

Powell then secured the semi-final battle over Marie Branser of Germany with an ippon that set her up for a tough and tactical final against Italian judoka Lucia Tangorre. Powell won the match after the Italian was penalised by hansoku-make after receiving four shido.

Following her win, Powell said: “I was pretty pleased with my performance on the weekend as I felt strong and had some good fights.

“I won’t be competing now until Abu Dhabi, so it was good to get some wins under my belt and pick up on areas to improve on over the next eight weeks.”

Lucas Rowe (-60kg) of Birmingham University took fifth place after a slow start to throw Manuel Sousa of Portugal for waza-ari and then hold him down for another to finish for ippon.

He won his second fight by a hold down ippon over Alexandre Sancerini of Spain.

However, in the next round, the recent Belgrade European Cup champion Sylvain Goulet of France gripped him in an armlock for ippon and in the process injured Rowe rendering him him unable to contest the bronze fight.

He said: “I fought well throughout the day before sustaining a ligament injury in the semi-final, so I pulled out of the bronze medal match as a precaution as I wanted to ensure I am in good condition for the upcoming Junior World Championships.”

Meanwhile, Jack Kelly (-100kg), a Greenwich graduate, won his first fight by waza-ari throw and then held his opponent down for wazari-awasete ippon.

However, he lost his second bout by two yukos before taking control of the third fight within 15 seconds with an impressive foot sweep for ippon. He missed out on bronze after losing by yuko.

Britain also achieved five seventh place finishes by Emily Hickman of Coventry University (-52kg), Helen Weatherburn of Swansea University (-63kg), Natasha Maslen University of Bath and Heather Goodman of University of Leeds (-70kg) and Max Denning (-90kg) of Oxford University.

Siamak Redhai (-66kg) of Oxford University, Liam Ashton-Farr (-73kg) of Wolverhampton University, Mark Carter (+100kg) a graduate of Brunel University, also fought, but exited early.

Stephanie Inglis (-57kg) of Heriot Watt University was forced to withdraw due to injury.

Men’s Coach Chris Doherty said: “Once again the competition in this tournament was of a very high standard. Many of the competitors have won several European Cups. We went up against a concentration of French, Portuguese and German competitors and enjoyed mixed results. A big well done to everyone who took part.”

Sandra Klinger, the women’s coach, said: “Compared to the last European University Championships we have seen more entries and a higher standard of competitors.

“Our team consisted of a mixture of different experience and some of the girls had never fought on such a level, so I am really pleased with their performance. It was made even more special with the gold medal win on the last day from Natalie Powell.”

By Donna Richardson. Photo from EUSA.