Budapest Grand Prix 21-22 June 2014

Natalie Powell -78 kg Bronze Medal beating  Croatia’s Ivana Maranic, first throwing her for waza-ari and then holding and pinning her down for ippon.

After a bye in the first round Natalie powered into the quarter-finals with a win by ippon over Ukraine’s Anastasiya Turchyn. The last-eight enounter against Spain’s Marta Tort Merino, was much closer but again Natalie got the verdict by a single yuko.

That set up a semi-final against former world champion, and world silver medalist from 2013,  Marhinde Verkerk of the Netherlands, and the Dutch woman’s experience was key as she took another tight contest with a late waza-ari.  Natalie still had the chance to win bronze but faced a tough-looking encounter against Maranic, a former junior world bronze medalist.  Natalie was not to be denied and quickly and over-powered her opponent to claim the final spot on the podium.

This was Natalie’s first event of the Rio Olympic Games qualification period; and one of the final preparation events leading into Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where the field would be tough as all the athletes are searching for a good start to the Olympic qualification; and this was certainly the case in Budapest.  A recent goal for Natalie has been to start matches with increased intensity.  The next event for Natalie is the Grand Slam Tyumen and Natalie will be looking to carry her form into this event with the aim of securing her first Grand Slam medal.