Triple crown for Hopkins

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Tom Alsop. Picture: Neil Marshall

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A dominant display from Sarah Hopkins saw her complete the triple crown with British Masters title success.

It’s been an outstanding 2014 for the Gosport judo star.

She has now secured the clean sweep of British, world and European titles.

That was her objective at the start of the year and with great support from the Gosport club members, including Great Britain star Sam Potts, she is delighted to have achieved it.

Hopkins said: ‘It’s a nice end to the year.

‘It’s the first time I have actually had all three in one year – starting with the Europeans, then coming onto the worlds and finishing it with the British Masters.

‘Now I’ve got the set, so it’s good. With the worlds and Europeans I didn’t know who was going to be there, so it was all about performing on the day.

‘It all boils down to what you do in your club and the support your club gives you, the advice from Sam, and training with the boys.’

At the British Masters, in Kidderminster, Hopkins felt she was under pressure to take the victory in the under-78kg category.

She knew she had to be on her game from the start to take control of the final against Helen Feely.

Hopkins said: ‘I was nervous. I was up against Helen and her coach is amazing.

‘She is a good player. She’s quite strong but her coach is very observant when people are fighting.

‘He sees my weaknesses. If I’m not on my game plan, then my weaknesses show through.

‘They worked out that I do certain things and I wasn’t aware of it. But I soon became aware of it and obviously didn’t do them.

‘I had to stick to my game plan and stick to my control and the grips and I got her on what we call “sticky foot” – a foot sweep really.

‘I knocked her down for one score but I didn’t follow it through with a hold down, because I was a bit slow.

‘But next time I knocked her down and held her down for the 10 points.

‘That was pretty definite – a pretty secure hold down.’

Hopkins also won two other fights to complete her year in style.

She added: ‘I had my main fight and then I had two other fights as well.

‘The standard is pretty high. It’s a good elite group.

‘Anything can happen. I had to be prepared and I was prepared.’

It was a very successful British Masters for Gosport as a club.

Martin Foster won the gold medal in the under-100kg M6 category as he emerged on top from a pool of seven.

Derek Hopkins joined his wife on the podium as he got silver in the under-100kg M5 category.

And Roland Manuel picked up a silver medal in the under-81kg M6 category.

‘Martin Foster got the gold and had an amazing day,’ said Sarah Hopkins.

‘Everything came together for him. It was the first time he has won it.

‘The people he beat were experienced players and he shone through for Gosport.

‘Roland had a good day, although he started a bit slowly.

‘He went up a weight and takes a while to warm up but he did well to get the silver.

‘Derek lost his first fight and he was a little bit annoyed. But he came back and blasted his other opponents.

‘We’re moving in the right direction as a club – it’s all going well.’