Sport

Natalie Powell wins World Judo Masters silver

Cardiff University student Natalie Powell added to her gold medal at last year’s Commonwealth games with a silver at the World Judo Masters, which were held in Morocco.

Powell successfully traversed her opening three rounds before being defeated in the final of the competition in the African country’s capital of Rabat.

In the first round she successfully overcame Sarah Myriam Mazouz, a silver medallist of the African Championships, in the -78kg category of the tournament.

Next in the Welsh girl’s path was French competitor Audrey Tcheumeo in the quarter-final, but she was no match for Powell, who studies biomedical sciences at Cardiff.

Her semi-final opponent was the Dutch Marhinde Verkerk, who has both a silver and gold medal to her name from previous World Judo Championships, picking up her first-place finish in Rotterdam 2009, then finishing second in Rio de Janeiro 2013. Powell proceeded to dominate her well-decorated opponent however, progressing to the final where she came up against American Kayla Harrison, who won gold at London 2012.

Harrison was one step too far for Powell, who couldn’t prevent her vastly experienced opposite number from coming out on top in what was only the duo’s second ever coming together.

Despite her eventual final defeat, Powell has now become the first British woman to be a finalist in a World Judo Masters championship.

With the win in Rabat, Powell added to her 2016 Olympic Games qualifying points and is now looking ahead to next month’s first ever European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, as she looks to ensure her place in the Great British camp going to compete at the 2016 Games, being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

On her silver medal, Powell expressed her joy at her record-breaking showing: “Obviously the Masters has given me a massive boost and now I know I can beat the best girls in the world.”

Looking ahead to the upcoming European Games in Azerbaijan, Powell said: “Getting the chance to now go to Baku and compete in the first ever European Games is a completely new experience and one I’m really looking forward to.

“The European Games is the last event in the first year of qualifying for Rio so will play a big role in getting to the Olympic Games.”

The inaugural European Games take place from June 12th to June 28th, over a number of disciplines.

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