NATALIE Powell has missed out a third consecutive Olympic Games.

The Beulah raised judoka confirmed she had not been selected for Great Britain for the summer spectacle in Paris despite directly qualifying.

Powell said: “Eleven months ago I was told I needed ACL surgery on my knee. Having the surgery would have meant I’d have no time to qualify for the games. I decided that a little hope was better than none. So decided to attempt rehabilitating my knee instead.

“Not knowing whether it was actually possible to get my knee strong enough to do judo again, I was determined to give it my best shot.


“Returning to my first event in Mittersill at the start of the year was extremely tough. I found myself scared standing toe to toe with my fellow competitors. This was the biggest barrier I continued to face. The fear didn’t leave over the following months but it did reduce.

“After 8 months of knee rehab I found myself in a position to properly compete on the tour again. Winning a couple of fights in Georgia and Turkey Grand Slams. I wasn’t where I needed to be, but we were getting closer.

After 10 months, in Tajikistan Grand Slam I finally found myself in the medal matches again. It felt like things were finally coming together just in time. All the blood, sweat and tears were starting to pay off.”

County Times: However injuries took their toll and a broken rib in the bronze medal contest forced Powell out of the final two qualifying events and end her qualification campaign.

Powell said: “This sadly is the nature of elite sport. I gave it everything I had and fell short of my goal.

“I’m not sure whats next, but first I’m going to take some time to recover mentally and physically.

“I would like to say a massive thank-you to everyone who has supported me over the last year in pursuing my dream. I couldn’t have got through it without every single one of you. Sport Wales, British Judo, UK Sport, Create Autonomy, Loupy Lou, Cardiff Judo Academy, Lauren Thomas and my incredible friends and family.

“I feel extremely lucky to have such amazing people around me.”