Young judo ace vows to bounce back

Sam Potts
Sam Potts
A silent tribute to Ronnie Williamson before the match at Privett Park  Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180018-1)

Charity match ‘an incredible tribute’ to adored Gosport coach

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SAM POTTS has vowed to bounce back from his Scottish Open disappointment.

The 20-year-old, from Locks Heath, came fifth at the prestigious event in Motherwell at the weekend.

He was on the wrong end of a controversial flags decision against training partner Conor Murphy during their scoreless bout and was unable to progress in a competition that promised so much.

That came as a bitter blow to the reigning British junior champion – who impressively went the whole of last year undefeated on home soil – as he attempts to find his feet at the tougher senior level.

But with the national championships just around the corner once again, he has plenty of motivation to keep him going and to make the transition as smooth as possible.

‘Although I have only just started fighting at senior level, I am still disappointed with how the Scottish Open went for me,’ said Potts.

‘I was fighting my training partner Conor and, because we knew each other’s fighting style inside out, the judges couldn’t separate us.

‘But I still have hope of doing well at the British Championships again at the start of next year.’

The under-90kg fighter needs to be ranked within the top 16 in the country to compete in the tournament, which takes place in Sheffield in January.

And at the moment he’s well on track to achieve the goal of competing against the country’s finest, with the former Gosport Judo Club ace currently ranked within the top 10.

Potts will take great confidence from that – and from the fact that most competitors in this weight category don’t really peak in the sport until their early 30s.

And with judo a key sport in the Olympics Games, it’s little wonder Potts already has his sights set on one day competing in the greatest sporting event of them all.

‘I think I could compete in a future Olympics if I continue to work hard,’ said Potts.

‘It will obviously take a lot of time and effort but I know I can do it.’

If Potts is to fulfil his dream of representing GB on the grandest stage in the future, then he will need the continued support of his team of expert coaches.

Sarah and Derek Marshall are World Masters gold and silver medallists and have been in charge of Potts’ development for the past four years – after first spotting his talent at Gosport Judo Club.

And Potts will look to repay the faith showed in him by the Marshalls, when he bids to become British senior champion – just one year after claiming junior honours at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield last January.