Gemma Howell out of British Judo Championships

Olympian Gemma Howell has been ruled out of the British Judo Championships in Sheffield after suffering a knee injury.

Gemma Howell
Gemma Howell

Olympian Gemma Howell has been ruled out of the British Judo Championships in Sheffield after suffering a knee injury.

The Shropshire judoka had targeted tomorrow’s competition in Sheffield to make her return after a similar injury sidelined her after Christmas.

But on her return to training she strained ligaments in her first session – leaving the 22-year-old from Telford frustrated.

“I was crying because of the pain but also because of the frustration as I wanted to be back,” said Howell, who is likely to return in three weeks.

“I’m not going to do the Championship now. I just want to get it better.

“I don’t want to rush back again but it’s not anything bad, I don’t need an operation, I just need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“It’s such a big shame because it’s the first one of the year and in Britain after the Olympics.

“I’ve maybe strained my ligaments. It’s enough to be a niggle and it’s not worth making it worse.”

Danny Williams, from Shrewsbury, will fight in the -73kgs category, however.

Howell was disqualified in her first round fight against world No.2 Gevrise Emane at London 2012, but won a World Cup gold in Samoa and Grand Prix silver in China at the end of last year.

She is ranked 16th in the world in the -63kgs – and is keen to ignore the uncertainty surrounding British Judo.

Performance director Daniel Lascau left after the Olympics, despite the sport beating its medal target thanks to silver from Gemma Gibbons and Karina Bryant’s bronze, with British Judo yet to replace him.

Howell, who started a sports and exercise science degree in Bath in September, said: “We don’t have a performance director or head coach at the moment. It will be nice to be reassured British Judo have sorted it but not everything is perfect all the time.

“It’s good being at Bath because I have kept away from all of that,” she said.

“After four years of being away from full-time education it’s a bit of a shock to the system though.”