Natalie Powell wants change to Olympic judo selection rules

Natalie Powell (left) defeated rival Gemma Gibbons in the 2014 Commonwealth Games final in Glasgow
Natalie Powell (left) defeated rival Gemma Gibbons in the 2014 Commonwealth Games final in Glasgow

Natalie Powell wants Olympic selection rules changed so she and rival Gemma Gibbons can both represent Great Britain's judo team at future Games.

Only one of the -78kg judoka can be selected for the Rio Olympics, with Wales' Commonwealth champion Powell leading the race.

Powell beat Gibbons to claim bronze at the European Championships in Russia.

"I think we're both capable of getting a medal, so it's a shame we can't both go," Powell told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

"At the World Championships and European Championships, you can send a team of nine so we can double up but, in the Olympics, you can only send seven [in all weights].

"I think the same rules should apply to the Olympics."

Powell is 492 points ahead of Gibbons in the race for Olympic selection.

However, there are 700 points on offer at the World Judo Masters in Mexico in May, the final competition before the Olympics.

Although she recognises the pressure will be increased, Powell is relishing her rivalry with Gibbons.

"My judo has come on so much from having Gemma there, having to do better than her," she added.

"The results I've had this year are probably down to Gemma in some roundabout way because, if I didn't have that pressure, I'm not sure how much my judo would have come on.

"It's the last one, so the pressure will be on. I've just got to keep getting those points and hopefully I'll go [to the Olympics]."

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