Natalie Powell’s seventh was the highlight for British Judo on the third and final day at the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam on Sunday 1 November at the IPIC Arena.
Coming off the back of strong showings at the Tashkent Grand Prix and the Paris Grand Slam, Powell (-78kg) threw Anastasiya Dmitrieva (RUS) twice for yuko in her opening contest which booked her a spot in the quarter-finals where she faced off against Mayra Aguiar (BRA).
The 2014 world champion was a tough opponent as expected and after scoring yuko, the Brazilian threw Powell for ippon putting the British judoka into the repechage.
Powell faced Lkhamdegd Purevjargal (MGL) for a spot in the bronze medal contest. The Mongolian had defeated Gemma Gibbons earlier in the day when she forced the British judoka to tap out and against Powell it was the same result as the 2014 Commonwealth Games champion got caught in a strangle and finished with another top seven finish in a Grand Slam.
Speaking afterwards Elite Performance coach Kate Howey said: “Natalie was not in her best form today but still managed to get seventh and 80 points. Her first fight against the Russian was good as they have fought many times this year so they have got to know each other. She stuck to the fight plan and threw twice to win.
“Her next fight against the Brazilian was always going to be hard as she is a former world champion but Natalie wanted to get a feel for her judo as they have never fought. She was thrown for ippon but has found out a lot of information.
“Againast the Mongolian she started well but dropped her fighting pace and played into the Mongolian’s hands and was caught with a strangle to lose. She now has a bit of time at home to get ready for Asia.”
Gibbons (-78kg) had earlier gone out in the second round to Purevjargal (MGL) after she was forced to tap out while Ben Fletcher (-100kg) produced a big win in his opening contest as he threw the world number three Cyrille Maret (FRA) for ippon. In the third round Fletcher was up against the highly experienced former world champion Elkhan Mammadov (AZE) and the contest came down to shidos with the British athlete going out with two shidos to his name.
British judoka will next be in action at the Port-Louis African Open on Satuday 7 and Sunday 8 November. Follow @BritishJudo on Twitter for competition results