Gripping final as Great Britain star Potts takes Welsh Open title

Sam Potts, second from right, on the podium
Sam Potts, second from right, on the podium
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Sam Potts was in dominant form as he swept to victory at the Welsh Open.

The Gosport judo player did not concede a penalty or a score against him throughout the competition as he stormed to the gold medal.

It was really intense and after that I felt the fittest and strongest I have ever been

Sam Potts

He had to overcome a slow start when he was a little bit rusty from lack of competition.

But with the scare in his opening fight behind him, the Great Britain international, from Locks Heath, outplayed his rivals and his gripping game plan paid off in the final.

He said: ‘It was good to be fighting again.

‘I hadn’t had any competitions since the summer because of work commitments and not many events being on.

‘So I was looking forward to this one and it went well.

‘I was very happy not to get any penalties or scores against me throughout the competition.

‘My training has been going well, and prior to this event I’d been doing a big conditioning block.

‘It was really intense and after that I felt the fittest and strongest I have ever been.

‘As the number one seed for the competition, I was given a bye in the first round.

‘Then in my opening match I had a bit of a wake-up call when I almost got caught.

‘Because I had a bye, I had cooled down a bit after the warm-up and was a little bit out of the zone.

‘After the wake-up call I threw him for waza-ari, the second highest score.

‘Then I got him straight into an arm lock which he tapped for.’

Potts was supported by Gosport club coaches Sarah and Derek Hopkins at the event.

They put the plan together for the final after the south coast star had seen off his second opponent.

‘My second fight was against a guy from Ireland,’ added Potts.

‘He went to turn into a throw and I caught him with a big pick up and got ippon straight away.

‘The final was against a Greek international.

‘Sarah and Derek had watched him and we had a game plan for him.

‘He’s left-handed so the plan was to stop him by controlling his left sleeve.

‘That really frustrated him and he couldn’t do anything.

‘I was attack-minded throughout, while he kept getting penalties and was disqualified.

‘It was pleasing that my gripping was good enough to do that.

‘I felt comfortable and in control. It helped to have Sarah and Derek there.’

Next up for Potts is a team competition in Austria on December 5, before he heads to the British Championships on Sunday, December 13, when he is hoping to continue a good trend.

‘I got silver there last year and bronze the year before,’ said Potts.

‘Hopefully, I can improve on my result from last year when I had a really good day.’