NATALIE Powell returned to the podium with a bronze medal at the Budapest Grand Prix.

The judoka star from Beulah beat Patricia Sampaio of Portugal to claim the final place on the podium and clinch her place in the Great Britain squad for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

Powell said: “I was really pleased to get back on the podium this weekend.

“It has been a tough year so far resulting in quite a few fifth places for me.

“I’ve had a really good training block which started at the end of March and is building towards the World Championships in Japan at the end of August.

“I feel like a lot of improvements are being made and am positive I’ll be in a strong place for.

“Before then I have one more preparation event in Croatia at the end of July and then its final preparations for the last four weeks.”

Powell wasted little time in making her mark in Hungary.

World number five, Powell, had a bye in the opening round before facing Hungarian and home favourite Evelin Salanki when Powell steamrollered a place to the quarter-finals in just 90 seconds.

Standing between Powell and a place in the semi-final was Karen Stevenson and while the Dutch judoka fought hard she proved no match for Powell who took victory and won the Pool by waza-ari score.

In the semi-final Powell lost to world number seven seed Ruika Sato of Japan and had to settle for a bronze medal match against Patricia Sampaio, the current World Junior Championship bronze medallist.

Powell’s experience prevailed as she defeated Sampaio by ippon score after 90seconds to win bronze and celebrate her first medal of the year so far to stand her in good stead ahead of the World Championships at the end of the summer.