Potts picks up silver at British Championships

Sam Potts throws Andy Burns in Sheffield. Picture: Mike Varey/www.mikevarey.com
Sam Potts throws Andy Burns in Sheffield. Picture: Mike Varey/www.mikevarey.com
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Sam Potts delivered a powerful display to pick up a silver medal at the British Championships.

The Gosport judo star won six out of his seven contests in the under-90kg category on Sunday at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

It was a crucial result for the talented 21-year-old who has finished 2014 on a high.

His second place means he will have cemented his place on the Great Britain Judo squad, with that news soon to be confirmed officially.

Potts won all five of his pool matches in the morning.

He then won his semi-final, before losing out to Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Gary Hall in the final.

Overall, Potts produced a very strong performance.

He said: ‘The British Championships is a tough competition and there was some pressure.

‘But I don’t let pressure affect me too much.

‘It’s very important to perform well at the championships because, to get on the Great Britain squad you have to be in the top four.

‘I was really happy with how it went. It’s put me in a good place for next year.’

After winning his first five fights, including a big victory against Scottish Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Andy Burns, Potts picked up a muscle injury to his left arm.

That made it particularly tough in the final against his room-mate Hall, who he trains with in Bath.

Potts said: ‘My first five fights were done by about 11.30am.

‘I pulled my arm a bit as I threw Andy Burns.

‘Then I had to wait until 2pm for my next fight. As I cooled down my arm stiffened up and in my sixth fight it was bad.

‘It was my left arm and I’m left handed so it made it difficult.

‘I was trying not to think about it too much and in my sixth fight I beat Eliot Stewart with all three scores – yuko, waza-ari and then ippon that gives you maximum score.

‘It was quite a comfortable win but it killed my arm.

‘In the final against Gary Hall my arm wasn’t feeling great and I went straight into his throw.

‘He’s quite a powerful fighter and it was naturally going to put a lot of pressure on my arm but he won fair and square.

‘We were room-mates the night before and it was good for Team Bath that we came first and second.

‘Bath dominated the heavyweights in the championship so it shows our training has paid off.’

Potts recorded a bronze medal in his first senior championships last year.

But he was then hit with glandular fever, which forced him to miss several weeks of training at the start of 2014 and set him back.

His recovery from that went well, though, and the judo player from Locks Heath was delighted to improve on bronze this time.

‘Last year I got bronze, in my first year as a senior,’ he added.

‘This time I was hoping to do better and I managed to do that so I’m very happy.

‘I had all that time out of training and it’s great to finish this year doing better than I did at the end of the last year.’