Natalie Powell overcame an opening match loss to secure her 16th Grand Prix medal after she claimed bronze on the final day of competition at the Antalya Grand Prix in Turkey.
Following medals for both Chelsie Giles (-52kg) and Sally Conway (-70kg) on the opening two days of the competition, it ensures that GB Judo come away from Turkey having won a medal on every day and boosts Powell’s hopes of eventually returning to the World No.1 spot.
A single waza-ari was enough to take home the medal for Powell against Russia’s Alexandrea Gimaletdinova.
It was a contest that Powell dominated from start to finish and her Russian opponent offered little in the form of attacking intent throughout, which owed to Powell’s determination. Both fighters picked up a shido in the closing stages but Powell used her experience to see off the clock and claim her spot on the podium once again.
Powell commented after the Bronze medal contest, “It was good to get some matches in today to prepare me for the European Championships at the end of April. I have two weeks of preparation left and some aspects to work on in that time.”
Coach Kate Howey echoed Powell’s sentiments, “Natalie got of to a slow start and improved as the day went on. She has two more weeks of preparation to puts things right but the big one (European Championships) at the end of this month.”
She started the day in disappointing fashion with a defeat at the hands of Kosovo’s Loriana Kuka. Both athletes were left handed and this nullified a lot of attacks that each of them attempted over the course of the contest.
Golden score beckoned and it was during this stage that Powell was caught via osoto-gari by Kuka and in turn, drop her in the repechage.
Powell recovered well though and saw off World No.31 Zarina Raifova from Kazakhstan in the repechage final. After a quiet opening minute, she sprung into action and following a strong exchange from the Welsh athlete, she was able to throw for ura-nage to secure the win and her passage into the Bronze medal contest.