Gosport player focused on world domination

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Sarah Hopkins will bid to regain her International Judo Federation World Veterans’ Championships title in Spain this week.

The Gosport judo player won the event in Miami in 2012 and has her sights firmly set on topping the podium again this year.

It’s been a good campaign for Hopkins so far – with the European title already in the bag.

But she knows there will be some fierce competition as she bids to top the world again.

Hopkins certainly won’t have gone under the radar ahead of the start of the event tomorrow.

In the European Championships she found her rivals had been doing their research in a bid to get a step ahead on the day of the competition.

She will be expecting more of the same in Malaga.

Hopkins said: ‘Unfortunately, when I went to the Europeans the German had already googled me and said “I know what you have done”.

‘Also, she started quoting some of my quotes that I put in the paper, so it was a bit embarrassing.

‘They knew all about me, put it that way.

‘It’s nice in one respect but it is a bit scary in another.

‘I won the worlds last time in 2012, so I will be the one to beat. I didn’t go to Abu Dhabi last year to defend the title because I didn’t agree with the country.

‘The two Germans I fought in the Europeans will be out there in Malaga.

‘There is a French woman who is quite strong as well, who I fought in the Europeans last year.

‘She went to the worlds last year. I don’t know if she will be there this year.

‘But with any competition it doesn’t matter who is there – the key is just to focus on what you do.’

Hopkins is in good form after winning the London Senior Open masters competition and picking up a bronze in the senior age category as well.

But she knows her previous performances will count for nothing on the day.

‘When we are fighting you just fight on the day,’ said Hopkins.

‘It doesn’t matter whether you fought somebody last week and beat them. This week it is a different fight.

‘If that player is out there and you have beaten them last week, it doesn’t mean to say you are going to beat them this week. It is tough.’

Hopkins has also been boosted by the return of Great Britain judo player Sam Potts to Gosport this summer.

He’s been back with his home club after finishing university in Bath.

That has enabled all the Gosport members to step up the intensity of their training.

Hopkins said: ‘I take tips off Sam because he is at that level of competition.

‘I want to be one step ahead with my players. Training has been good.

‘Sam coming back has really motivated me.

‘You have got somebody else in the same situation as you, going to big competitions.’

Hopkins begins her quest to add another world title to her trophy cabinet tomorrow when the three-day Championships begin.