SAM POTTS made it double delight as he retained his under-21 England Open title in Sheffield.
The powerhouse from Locks Heath stormed through to the final in the -90kg and won in style with a dream ippon success over Scottish rival Reece Calder.
For Potts, 20, it was great to get the gold medal as a reward for the hard work he put in to overcome injury earlier this year and reach top shape.
He said: ‘It was good. Obviously I wanted to get gold and ended up winning gold.
‘It’s nice getting something back to show for all the hard work you put in.
‘I have fought Reece before but not for a couple of years. I threw him for a score in the first couple of seconds and then it was a fair exchange throughout the fight.
‘I got another couple of small scores, then three minutes into the fight I threw him for ippon.
‘It’s great to win with a big throw. Sometimes if it is close and you get the win, you think “did I win that or did I not?”
‘But I got four scores on him – with one of them being a maximum score so I definitely deserved it.’
It was the perfect way to finish an outstanding competition for Potts.
Before the showdown with Calder, he received a bye through the first round, then finished off his second-round opponent with ippon – the highest score in judo.
Potts’ semi-final proved a thrilling contest against strong rival Adam Hoshal.
‘That was my hardest fight. Adam is up and down from my weight category and when he is in the weight below he is the number one,’ said Potts.
‘He is quick and powerful and you have to be a little bit careful as he is always attacking. He’s a good player you have to watch out for.
‘I managed to get a score on him about halfway into the fight. Then I decided to fight tactically rather than try to win by maximum score. It worked because I got the win and that put me into the final.’
Potts was roared on by his parents and team-mates from Team Bath high performance judo at the Sheffield Ice Rink, where the event was held.
He said: ‘It was a good venue with seating for the spectators and lots of space to put the mats down for the fights.
‘I had my parents there and my coaches from home. They came to watch me and with Team Bath high performance judo we went as a team so that was good as well.’
Potts is competing in the European Cup in Portugal tomorrow, where he is looking to continue his good form and possibly bring home another medal.