Royston's Emma Reid hails Commonwealth gold as highlight of her career

Royston's Emma Reid with her Gold Medal after the women’s 78kg judo final at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Royston's Emma Reid with her Gold Medal after the women’s 78kg judo final at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. - Credit: JOE GIDDENS/PA

Emma Reid says beating her "idol" and winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in front of her parents and friends was the highlight of her career.

The 27-year-old from Royston beat Natalie Powell of Wales 1-0 in the gold medal match to claim the 78kg title at the Coventry Arena.

She scored the winning point early and then defended for her life to beat Powell, the winner of the gold back in Glasgow 2014, the last time the sport was in the Games.

Reid, a former member of Melbourn Judo Club, said: "I haven’t fought her since I was 16 and she won. She was my idol when we fought then and she still is now, but we’re on the same level now.

"It was really nice to fight her. You grow up looking at people in your weight so to go on and fight them, and beat them, feels quite surreal.

"I always doubt myself and when it happened I was like ‘oh my god, I’ve done it’.

"To do it in front of my parents and all my friends, it’s definitely the highlight of my career."

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Reid had elbow surgery in 2019 after serious damage to her tendons and admitted there were times when she did not believe she would be at a major Games again.

She said: "Because I’m a bit older, I’m sometimes like ‘is this the last injury, is it time to pack up’. But when you get to rehab, you think ‘no, I’ve still got it’.

"You can train as hard as you want but people forget about the mental side. For me, that’s what makes the difference on the day. You have to dig in, think you’re the best and do it."