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Gibbons Makes Golden Comeback in Dusseldorf
British Judo’s Olympic Silver Medallist Gemma Gibbons made an impressive
return to the international circuit with victory in the women's under 78kg
category at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix.
The 26 year old from Greenwich who now lives in Edinburgh, captured the
British Championship title a month ago and was making her first
international appearance since the iconic Silver medal she won at the
London 2012 Olympic Games.
The Dusseldorf Grand Prix is one of the highest-level events on the IJF
calendar, attracting the top competitors from around the world.
Gibbons’ first contest was against German competitor Julia Tillmann and
despite home support, it ended with a victory for Gibbons inside three
This was followed by a much tighter contest with Annemarie Velensek of
Slovenia, where the GB athlete won with a waza-ari score to her opponent’s
That victory set up a repeat of the London 2012 quarter-final contest
between Gibbons and Dutch star Marhinde Verkerk. With just over 15 seconds
left of the contest, Gemma landed an ippon score to defeat the former World
Champion and book her place in the final.
The final saw Gibbons face Ruika Sato. This was another tough fight that
almost went the distance, with Gemma taking an early lead by waza-ari and
yuko before throwing the young Japanese athlete for ippon by uchi mata 12
seconds from the end of the contest, sealing her first IJF World Tour win.
"It was great to win here today and to hear the national anthem play for me
for the first time was amazing!
"I was really pleased I was able to perform at this level and execute some
"It's been six months since I have fought against some of the best players
in the world and to come away with the gold gives me great confidence
to the Turkey GP and the European Championships."
Kate Howey MBE, Lead Women's Coach for British Judo:
"Gemma fought really well today throwing the Japanese with a fantastic uchi
mata in the final.
"This was a great performance back at this level having time out to recover
from her thumb operation after the games.
"It proves to her and the rest of the the judo world that the Olympics was
not a fluke and she can win at this level. This will give
her so much confidence going forward to Rio"