Powell ready for final Rio 2016 push

Natalie Powell in action at the 2015 European Championships

Natalie Powell beat Gemma Gibbons to claim bronze at the 2016 European Championships in Russia.

Wales’ Commonwealth Games judo champion Natalie Powell says she has not contemplated missing out on the Olympic Games.

The World Judo Masters in Mexico on Sunday is the final qualification event before Rio.

Only one of the -78kg British judoka can be selected, with Powell leading rival Gemma Gibbons by 492 points in the qualifying race.

“I haven’t thought of the prospect of not going,” Powell said.

“If I fight as well as I know I can then hopefully I’ll be on the plane to Rio.

“I’ve dedicated so much time and effort into it the last four years. Everything’s been about going.

“The girls I’ve been fighting all year, I’ve beaten most of them before so it’s pulling a performance together on the day.”

The 25-year-old beat 2012 Olympic silver medallist Gibbons to win gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow two years ago.

Powell and Gibbons will have to share a room before competing in Mexico.

“Off the mat we get on as I get on with anybody else in the team, so it’s just a shame that we’ve got to compete on the mat,” Powell told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

“In any other situation we would both be going as we’ve both qualified in the top 14.

“But we knew that was the case from the start so it’s not like they’ve sprung it on us at the last minute.”

comments powered by Disqus