Dartford’s Charlotte Jenman had to overcome the No.1 seeded judo cadet to claim her bronze medal at the European Cadet Championships.
The 17-year-old Leigh Academy sixth-form pupil, who is a member of the England cadet squad, went into the competition in good form and was thrilled to have achieved her best result yet.
She said: “I’d achieved a bronze in Zagreb [in the European Cadet Cup] and Portugal and a gold in France but anything can happen on the day and I was just hoping for a medal or a place.
“I have been doing judo since the age of five and this is the best thing I’ve achieved so far.”
The prestigious European Championships took place in Porec, Croatia over the weekend and Jenman, who was seeded third, won three fights after an opening-round bye. She won her pool with victory over opponents from Greece, Bosnia and Ukraine.
A lengthy semi-final contest with Romanian Luciana Catana lasted 12 minutes and when Jenman was unfortunately awarded a third shido - a minor violation - she was left to fight for a bronze and a meeting with No.1 seed Michela Terranova.
It was a close contest and went to a golden score where Jenman capitalised on an error from her opponent to register a waza-ari score to win the contest, claiming the bronze medal.
“I was fighting the world No.1 and it was just a case of having a go!” said the teenage judoka. “It was a tight fight but thankfully I came out on top.”
Jenman is reaching the end of the cadet stage, soon to start a three-year run in the junior section from September before hopefully progressing to the senior competitions. She is already in the Junior GB squad.
A member of the Tonbridge Judo Club, Jenman has been competing regularly across Europe and is grateful to the support of her school, saying: “They have been really supportive of what I do and have been a massive help over the years.”
It was while watching her brother play judo that she decided to give it a go as a five-year-old, saying: “I liked the look of it, I wanted to give it a go and I’ve loved it!
“I’m still just taking it one step at a time, I can’t look too far ahead and we’ll just have to see where the pathway takes me.”