Gemma Howell pocketed the gold in the -70kg category at the Zagreb Grand Prix. Hardly a week ago she did the same in Budapest. Her second Grand Prix gold this year. In Baku last May she grabbed her first medal in a Grand Slam – a bronze. The judoka seems on a roller coaster ride.
Women's -70kg final: Polling (NED) vs. Howell (GBR)

“I really like this rollercoaster. It’s a ride I don’t want to get off right now,” she jokes. “But yes, with the Worlds coming up I hope I can keep on working like I’ve been doing for a while now and keep getting in my best performance. It is definitely an enormous confidence booster towards Tokyo. Especially when winning the gold in Hungary, topping the podium and now repeating it. This definitely gives me confidence going to the Worlds. I really hope I can keep it up. It’s been a good year for me so far.”

Women's -70kg medal podium

Gemma’s mother Suzanne was in the stands. “I hear her shouting my name alright. My mum is my biggest fan. Today, also one of my best friends came to watch and I hear them shout, wanting to do my outmost best for them on the mat. It’s that little extra push I get in my back when it’s really needed.”

“Seeing my daughter win the gold is actually really difficult to put into words,” says Suzanne Howell. “It’s more of a feeling that wells up inside you,” she continues emotionally. “You want to cry. It’s great to see. It’s been a brilliant day. Gemma is having a good year. She seems to get stronger and stronger and also her judo seems to get better and better. She’s focused on the mat all the time. That consistency is marvelous. I’m very proud of her and I’m grateful of everybody who’s helping her because she can’t do that alone.”

See also