Natalie Powell: Commonwealth champion 'ready to go again' after break

Natalie Powell in action at Rio 2016
Natalie Powell was beaten by France's Audrey Tcheumeo in the last eight of the -78kg competition at Rio 2016.

Welsh judoka Natalie Powell says she is feeling motivated after winning the British title for the fifth time in Sheffield.

The 26-year-old from Powys missed out on a medal at the Olympic Games, finishing seventh in the -78kg category.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist admits it was a hard few months following Rio.

"It's obviously something you can't really prepare for," Powell said.

"For the first six weeks after I had no interest in doing any judo whatsoever.

"I needed that time to mentally recover from it and get my head back on track and now I feel really motivated and feel ready to go again.

"I think the break is just what I needed to collect my thoughts and decide what I wanted to do with the next four years."

Powell, who won bronze at the European Championships earlier this year, beat Emma Read to win 78kg gold at the Senior British Championships and is now looking ahead to 2017.

"I was nice to get into a competitive environment," Powell told BBC Wales Sport.

"It's really nice to be back on the map. I've just been back training for three weeks. I felt a bit rusty and I wasn't as sharp as normal.

"Next year I'm looking to do really well at Europeans and Worlds and my first competition back is Paris Grand Slam at the beginning of February. This was a warm-up event really."

Powell became the first Welsh woman to compete in judo at the Olympics after collecting more ranking points than British rival Gemma Gibbons, who won silver in London 2012.

"It was a really unique situation for Rio really because me and Gemma were going head to head in every competition so it was constant pressure and I had to compete at every competition to stay on track and stay ahead," Powell added.

"In this cycle hopefully there won't be the same pressure from the British side of things so I can pick and choose my events more."

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