It was a crowded house at Coventry Arena to watch the judo on Wednesday night, and England judoka Harry Lovell-Hewitt was dreaming it wasn’t over after clinching bronze in the men’s -100kg category.
Lovell-Hewitt was roared on by a raucous crowd in Coventry as he beat Australian Kayhan Ozcicek-Takagi with an ippon just 20 seconds from time.
And the Stroud fighter believes it is the best audience he has ever competed in front of.
“It felt amazing walking out to the crowd with that noise, I've never really done an event with that sort of noise and a home crowd, not to this extent,” said Lovell-Hewitt, who raised his arms aloft to the crowd in celebration.
“Other British ones, it's not quite the same, but an international one with everyone cheering for the home nation, it’s amazing.”
Lovell-Hewitt claimed bronze on a thrilling evening for England’s judokas, as Emma Reid and Jamal Petgrave won gold and Rhys Thompson also clinched a bronze.
And 25-year-old Petgrave hailed the power of a home Games on his performance on the mat.
“It’s been amazing,” said Petgrave. “My family coming to watch, friends coming to watch.
“They all know what I do but because so many of my competitions are abroad, it’s not easy for people to come and watch but this one is on everyone’s doorstep.
“Everyone has come to watch; I know they’re pleased.
“I went to Coventry Uni and one of my lecturers was in the crowd. I know all about the arena we’re in, there’s just something about it.”
It wasn’t just English judokas cleaning up in Coventry, as Scottish fighter Sarah Adlington also took gold in front of a vocal Tartan Army.
Adlington had to work hard to get past India’s Tulika Maan, pulling an ippon out of the bag with 30 seconds remaining.
“Anything else other than gold today would have felt like disaster but I’m on top of the world now,” said Adlington.
“I found it harder this time because I knew what being a Commonwealth champion meant.
“I’ve dealt with the pressure phenomenally well.
“Did you hear the Scottish contingent behind me? I can only say thank you to everyone that made the trip down. Their support is much appreciated.”
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