Great Britain judo star Potts leads the way with golden return

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Dion Donohue. Picture: Colin Farmery

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Sam Potts announced his return to fitness with devastating style as he swept to victory in the London Senior Open.

The Gosport Judo Club star picked up a superb gold medal, crushing his rivals with outstanding performances.

He showed he’s getting back to the form that has won him a place in the senior Great Britain squad, after being hit by injury and illness recently.

Potts was joined on the medal rostrum in London by Gosport masters ace Sarah Hopkins, who also won gold.

Rising star Perry English made it a triple success as he picked up his first major medal with a bronze.

It was a great occasion for Gosport, with Potts’ winning return also superb news for GB.

He’s hoping for European Cup glory this year and will have been boosted by his convincing success in London.

Hopkins coaches Potts at the south coast club, when he comes down from University of Bath where he’s based.

She was delighted to see him perform so well, despite picking up a badly bruised foot on his way to victory.

‘Sam won all his fights and was on top form,’ said Hopkins.

‘In his semi-final he damaged his foot – it was badly bruised.

‘It was playing him up in the final but his opponent then got injured and had to pull out.

‘Sam had the upper hand anyway. His sharpness is coming back and he’s looking really good.

‘In the semi-final, Sam was throwing this bloke here, there and everywhere. It was amazing.’

Hopkins was competing in both the seniors and the masters.

She picked up a cherished bronze against younger rivals in the seniors and won all her masters fights to take gold.

Hopkins said: ‘Some of my opponents in the seniors had about 27 years on me, so to get a bronze is not bad.

‘I won my first two fights but lost a scrappy semi-final to an 18-year-old.

‘Then I had three more fights in the masters and won them all to get gold.’

English, 18, was fighting in his first junior ranking event and did well to medal at under-81kg.

Meanwhile, Sandro Sutter finished fifth in the seniors to complete a great competition for Gosport.

Both players are learning quickly and showed plenty of promise.

Sutter narrowly missed out on a fight against Potts for gold.

Hopkins said: ‘Sam and Sandro were kept apart in different pools in the seniors.

‘Sandro won his first two fights but then lost his semi-final after pulling his hamstring.

‘He got called to fight for bronze but couldn’t because of his leg injury so finished fifth.

‘Sandro is learning and did well. He got close to earning a fight against Sam for gold and silver.’

‘Perry was up against quality players. He lost his first fight but only by penalties.

‘He won his second fight with a brilliant throw – then faced the runner-up in the second pool in the semi-finals but he was very good.

‘Perry lost that but for him it’s all about getting experience.’

Potts, who also won the Hampshire closed title recently at the Mountbatten Centre, will next be in action at the British Open in Crawley later this month.