Judo: Natalie Powell & Sally Conway win bronze in Paris

By David McDaidBBC Olympic sports reporter in Paris
Powell beats Gibbons to Paris bronze in GB judo battle of Britain

Commonwealth champion Natalie Powell won bronze at judo's Paris Grand Slam.

The 25-year-old from Builth Wells beat her British -78kg rival Gemma Gibbons in the head-to-head in France.

Powell's first Grand Slam medal will give her a further rankings boost over Gibbons as she bids to be Team GB's sole -78kg representative at the Rio Olympics in August.

Scotland's Sally Conway also won bronze in the -70kg class.

GB Judoka Sally Conway wins bronze at the Paris Grand Slam

Conway, 29, did not have to fight her last two rounds because of opponent injury and disqualification.

Powell fell into the bronze medal repechage after losing to the USA's world number one Kayla Harrison in the quarter-finals.

Her opponent for bronze became Gibbons after she lost her semi-final, fighting on despite being in obvious pain having hurt her right knee in the previous fight.

That injury will be assessed once Gibbons flies home on Monday.

"It means everything. I thought I was never going to get a Grand Slam medal so to do it at Paris is the icing on the cake," Powell told BBC Sport.

"It was a really important match to win. Myself and Gemma haven't fought each other since the Commonwealth Games final and a lot has changed since then.

"I had a knee injury at the end of last year but that made me come back more hungry and I feel like I'm getting better and better."

Conway is also in a strong position to make Rio qualification, adding 200 ranking points after picking up bronze by winning just one fight.

She was given a first-round bye, won her first match, lost in the quarter-final, and then was unchallenged in her repechage bouts as her opponents were no-shows.

"I thought if I ever won a medal in Paris it would have a much different feeling," said Conway.

"Normally when you win a medal you're happy. I'll take the medal, but it feels funny."

Conway still had to present herself for the fight and perform the customary bows before her last two bouts despite no opponent being present.

"That's never happened to me before so to do it twice in one day is strange," she said.

"I actually felt quite nervous. I was thinking 'do not fall over'."