Judoka Amy Platten overcomes semi-final heartbreak to win Commonwealth bronze

Judoka Amy Platten overcomes semi-final heartbreak to win Commonwealth bronze

From despair to joy in a heartbeat, judoka Amy Platten experienced the full spectrum of emotions as she shook off a semi-final defeat to claim Commonwealth Games bronze.

The 21-year-old from Hertfordshire saw her dreams of gold in the -48kg category dashed at Birmingham 2022 after losing her last four contest to South Africa’s Michaela Whitebooi.

But she recovered from that disappointment in style against Malawian Harriet Bonface, executing an Ippon - the highest score a fighter can achieve in the sport - to secure bronze.

“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. I’ve just come off the mat, it was so quick,” she said. “I’m just speechless. I was so hyped up for it as we had such a long gap between the preliminaries.

“I was like, ‘you know what, don’t over think it, just get your grip, come in and throw her’, so I’m really happy. In judo, you can’t predict anything that’s going to happen.

“You have a bit of a game plan but it’s so unpredictable in this sport. That’s some of the challenges that come with it but it’s also one of the amazing things about this sport.

“I lost the semi-final so I was really gutted as I really came here thinking I could win it. It’s hard, you have to get back, think I have one more fight, I’m not done yet and re-focus.

“I just had to go for it again, not overthink things. I think when you start letting yourself overthink things, you start doubting yourself and you have to block those doubts out.”

This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.

Platten was among the record-breaking 17.4million people who watched the Lionesses win EURO 2022 the night before and said England women’s success gave her an extra boost.

“I watched the match last night and it only gave me more motivation for today,” she said.

“I’m a huge advocate for women’s sport, I think it needs to be shouted about a bit louder. I think that women are incredible and can get on that mat and perform just as good as any man.”

From St Albans originally, Platten trains at the British Judo Centre in Walsall - just outside Birmingham - and she said the support she has received has been key to her success.

“It’s incredible and I just have to thank National Lottery and everyone who plays the Lottery because it’s allowed us to train in the National Training Centre,” she said.

“It’s where the best people can come and we can really push ourselves. We wouldn’t have that, and I wouldn’t be able to do what I do, without worrying about everything else, without that.”

She also welcomed the vocal backing she received from the crowd at the Coventry Arena, using the atmosphere to her advantage rather than shrinking under the pressure.

“I know that my dad spoke to me about it before and said you need to prepare for that crowd because it’s going to be loud and you don’t want to let it fluster you,” she said.

“I just told myself to use that crowd, use it as fuel to fire me and it genuinely did. I got chills before going on and I thought, ‘this is mine’, no one can take this away from me.

“I’m a second-year senior so it’s a tough sport, it’s hard out here but this has only given me a massive confidence boost and it’s just told me that I can do this. This is just the start.”

And having recently graduated from the University of Nottingham, Platten is now relishing the chance to focus full-time on judo as she chases a place at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

“I’ve been dreaming of this day. It was so hard and I knew I was challenging myself doing both, it wasn’t the easy option, but I thought what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

“I’m excited now for the next two years. I can buckle down and concentrate on Paris, not have any other distractions and just have full focus for the Games.”

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