England judoka Emma Reid pips Natalie Powell to Commonwealth crown

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COVENTRY, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03:  Natalie Powell (white) of Team Wales competes against Emma Reid (blue) of Team England during the Women's Judo 78 kg Final match on day six of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Coventry Stadium on August 03, 2022 in Coventry, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
COVENTRY, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Natalie Powell (white) of Team Wales competes against Emma Reid (blue) of Team England during the Women's Judo 78 kg Final match on day six of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Coventry Stadium on August 03, 2022 in Coventry, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

By James Reid in Birmingham

Judoka Natalie Powell couldn’t hide her disappointment as she was beaten to Commonwealth gold in the -78kg category by England’s Emma Reid.

2014 champion Powell was beaten by a singular waza-ari from Reid in an enthralling contest that had little between the two fighters.

Powell is a domineering figure in British judo and was the first British female judoka to be ranked world no.1.

But she was beaten by one of those who once looked up to her in Reid, and Powell admitted she was more than frustrated with the result.

"I'm just gutted,” said Powell.

“I came here to win gold and I felt like I was capable of doing that so I don't feel like I achieved what I was capable of.

“I'm really disappointed but I'll be okay in a few days. Let it sink in and move onto the next one.”

Powell walks away from Birmingham with just her second Commonwealth medal, but admits she would take little solace from silver.

“It's always hard because you win a bronze or a gold but with a silver you always lose to get it so I think the emotions after a silver are a little bit different,” she added.

“I think I went out a little too erratic and got caught early on. When you get caught early on with the new rules it's really hard to get it back.

“I tried as hard as I could to get it back but it just wasn't enough today sadly.”

It was a first Commonwealth medal for Reid, who paid tribute to her “idol” Powell.

“I haven’t fought her since I was 16 and she won. She was my idol when we fought then and she still is now, but we’re on the same level now,” said Reid.

“It was really nice to fight her – you grow up looking at people in your weight so to go on and fight them, and beat them, feels quite surreal.

“I always doubt myself and when it happens I’m like ‘oh my god, I’ve done it’. To do it in front of my parents and all my friends, it’s definitely the highlight of my career.”

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