Sophie in British judo squad

PUBLISHED: 13:41 13 December 2007 | UPDATED: 21:53 29 May 2010

Sophie Daniels qualified for the British under 20 judo squad. Picture: SUBMITTED

Sophie Daniels qualified for the British under 20 judo squad. Picture: SUBMITTED

Sophie Daniels has qualified for the British under 20 judo squad after winning a bronze medal at the British under 19 championships. The 16-year-old from Newport put in a great performance at the event in Sheffield last weekend to win five of her seven bo

Sophie Daniels has qualified for the British under 20 judo squad after winning a bronze medal at the British under 19 championships.

The 16-year-old from Newport put in a great performance at the event in Sheffield last weekend to win five of her seven bouts.

"I was really happy with the way it went as it was an under 19 championship and I was the youngest girl on the podium," said Sophie.

"The standard was a lot higher than usual national championships and it means a lot that after all the training I'm getting results."

The Saffron Walden Judo Club member won the first of five fights dominating her opponents to set up a place in the last four.

Although she performed well in the last two bouts, she was defeated, but had done enough to secure third spot and a place in the British under 20 squad.

Saffron Walden Judo Coach Allen Goodard said: "There was a huge amount of pressure on Sophie going into this competition. We knew that she would only be selected for the British under 20 squad if she managed a place on the podium and it would require Sophie to be at her absolute best to achieve this.

"But Sophie has proved time and again this year that she has a level of maturity way beyond her

tender 16 years, to not only be able to deal with this kind of pressure, but have the skill and ability to win at this level."

The championships rounded off a remarkable year for Sophie, with three international medals (one gold and two silver), the National Junior Championship and numerous other medals and titles in between.

She is now ranked number

one in Great Britain in the

under 18 age category, number three at under 20 and has been selected for the World Class Talent Squad for elite players with Olympic potential.

"I've made a lot of improvement this year and have managed to step up a level. It feels great to be number one," said Sophie.

"I train hard everyday and it's nice to get the reward for that. I'm aiming to keep my position as number one next year and take part in more international tournaments."

Coach Goddard said: "I am absolutely thrilled that Sophie managed to end the year on such a high note and extremely proud of her achievements to date.

"Next year will be very demanding for Sophie with numerous overseas competitions and training camps, together with her already busy domestic calendar.

"However I know Sophie will take it all in her stride and continue her development towards representing Great Britain at the very highest level.

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