Youthful Yasmin Javadian admits her ‘home’ Coventry crowd hauled her over the line after bagging a battling bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Javadian, who hails from the West Midlands city but represents Northern Ireland owing to family ties, toppled Mozambique's Jacira Ferreira in the women's -52kg category to climb on to the podium.
The result marked the nation’s fifth medal at Birmingham 2022 as Javadian, 21, followed in the podium footsteps of Barry McClements, Chloe MacCombe and Rhys McClenaghan.
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Team Northern Ireland’s wait for a first gold medal of the Games goes on but Javadian, who represents Coventry Judo Club, says she couldn’t be more grateful for the partisan home support.
“It feels amazing - especially here in my hometown,” said Javadian, one of over 100 athletes on the Northern Irish team.
“Representing my mum’s heritage feels amazing – with the home crowd and everything, it's such a buzz.
“Today especially, walking out to that bronze medal fight. I could hear everything – there were so many friendly faces.
“Everyone I know around Coventry Judo Club, my hometown, it was really good.
“It really kept me going when I got deep into the fight and was struggling.”
Javadian narrowly missed out on a place in the final with defeat by Australia's Tinka Easton in the last four.
But the Team Northern Ireland ace regrouped to earn a classy victory over Ferreira in the golden score period to propel herself on to the podium.
This summer, Team Northern Ireland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will compromise of over 100 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Elsewhere on Monday, Javadian’s compatriot Nathon Burns emulated her achievement by banking bronze against Scotland’s Alexander Short in the -66kg category.
Competing after Javadian’s triumph, Burns clinched an impressive win over Short that capped an up-and-down day for the 33-year-old.
He lost his quarter-final before seeing off Zambia's Steven Mungandu in the repechage bout, laying the foundations for climbing on to the podium to complete a memorable evening for the Northern Irish team.
Earlier on Monday, Callum Nash lost to Cypriot opponent Georgios Balarjishvili in the last 16 of the -66kg category.
And in the boxing, Team Northern Ireland’s rock-solid Monday evening continued as Jude Gallagher and Clepson dos Santos progressed to the quarter-finals of the featherweight and flyweight divisions.
Tyrone featherweight Gallagher stunned local fighter Niall Farrell by stopping the Englishman in the first round of their contest.
While elsewhere, Dos Santos edged out tricky Ghanaian Yaw Samuel Addo on a 3-2 decision in their flyweight last 16 bout.
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