University of Bath student Gemma Howell continued her comeback from injury by taking gold at the 2014 Glasgow European Judo Open at the weekend.
Gemma represented Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympic Games but suffered a serious injury to her left knee that has effectively kept her out of the sport for two years.
But she made up for lost time with a bronze medal at the Zagreb Grand Prix in Croatia last month and followed that up with gold in Glasgow on Saturday.
“Basically I’ve been injured since London 2012,” said Gemma, who is studying for a Sport and Exercise Science degree at the University of Bath.
Relieved to win gold
“It wasn’t the best performance in the world at the weekend, so I’m not back where I want to be yet,” she said. “Everything seems fixed now, but because I’ve been out for so long I need to get my judo fitness back. That takes time.
“I’m relieved to be back and to have got a gold medal,” she added. “It was particularly nice to win in front of a home crowd.”
Howell is now aiming to improve her position in the under-63kg world rankings to increase her chance of securing a place on the GB team for the Rio Olympics.
Howell beat Sweden’s Emma Barkeling in Saturday’s final after securing victories over Japan’s Nozomi Hirai and fellow Briton Jodie Mullen in the earlier rounds.
There was disappointment in the under-70kg class in Glasgow for Megan Fletcher, who couldn’t repeat her heroics that saw her win gold at the Commonwealth Games. She made a first round exit to Japan’s Haruka Yasumatsu.
Team Bath judo player and University of Bath Business Management graduate Tom Reed just missed out on the medals in the under-81kg class at the European Open in Lisbon. He was unlucky to miss out on bronze and had to settle for fifth. University Coach Education and Sports Development graduate Andy Burns took bronze at under-90kg.
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Photos by Mike Varey/epitepix