NATALIE Powell celebrated her 15th World Judo grand prix medal in Mexico last weekend.

The Irfon Judo Club star from Beulah near Builth Wells claimed a silver in Cancun as Great Britain celebrated a nine medal haul, the most of all competing nations.

Powell went straight into the women’s under 78kg semi-finals where she was too good for Venezuelan Karen Leon, throwing her force waza-ari and going straight into the hold down.

Powell took on Brazil’s double Olympic bronze medallist Mayra Aguiar for gold with the two judoka having only met once so far.

Aguiar won on that occasion and she made it two from two in Cancun, catching Powell off balance and throwing her for ippon to claim the gold medal.

Powell remained upbeat and toasted a third medal in a row which maintained her strides in the sport.

Powell said: “The day secured me a top eight seeding for the World Championships which was the main aim of the competition for me.

“It was also good to fight Aguiar. I’ve not had many opportunities to fight her so it was good to see where I am against her. 

“I came away with some information which I can work on in the lead-up to the World Championships.”

Elite performance coach Kate Howey MBE was pleased with the performance of GB Judo ahead of the World Championships in Hungary and backed Powell to continue flying the flag.

“Overall we have had a good tournament and have come away with nine medals which is pretty impressive from a Grand Prix,” said Howey. 

“We now have to get back into training and finish preparation for the World Championships at the end of August.”