Conway’s Grand Prix Gold Tops 13 Medal Haul for British Judo

Olympian Sally Conway topped a hugely successful weekend for British Judo with a gold medal in the -70kg category at the IJF Samsun Grand Prix in Turkey.

The result was one of thirteen medals won by British Judo in a busy weekend on the international calendar, with GB teams entered in both Samsun and the Sarajevo European Cup in Bosnia.

26 year old Conway, who is based in Edinburgh, was making her first international appearance since London 2012 and took the biggest win of her senior career.

The Samsun Grand Prix is one of the highest-level events on the IJF calendar, attracting the top competitors from around the world and being the last major tournament before April’s European Championships.

Conway started her day with victory by ippon over Margarita Gurtsieva of Russia, before dispatching Iijana Marzok in just over one minute.

That victory set up a semi-final with former Junior World Champion Bernadette Graf and two minutes in, Conway held down the Austrian to book a place in the final against Asma Niang.

Conway started well and again caught her Moroccan opponent with some excellent ground-work to hold her down and win gold.

Commenting on the victory, Conway said: “I’m really pleased with my performance, as this is my first competition back since the Olympics. It feels good to be back.”
Two more GB athletes stood on the rostrum in Samsun with Chris Sherrington and Natalie Powell both taking bronze.

Sherrington, a Royal Marine competing in the +100kg category fought well, losing out in the semi-finals to Faycal Jaballah of Tunisia, before coming back in the bronze medal contest to beat Georgian Onise Bughadze for victory.

After collecting his medal, Sherrington said: “After nine years of blood, sweat, tears and operations, a Royal Marine stands proud on the podium for British Judo.

“This is the biggest result of my career so far! Roll on the Europeans!”

Welsh -78kg judoka Natalie Powell suffered a difficult start, losing her first contest, but fought back well through the repechage to defeat Croatia’s Ivana Maranic and claim bronze.

Natalie said: “The day started badly but it got better. I fought hard and tactically and I’m pleased to have won bronze here in Turkey.”

Lead Women’s Coach and former Olympic Silver Medallist Kate Howey said: “It’s been a good day for British Judo and it was nice to hear the national anthem playing again.”

The European Cup in Sarajevo saw British Judo take a further ten medals, including three more gold.

In the women’s -57kg, Nekoda Davis beat Sophie Cox in an all British final, with Stephanie Inglis also taking bronze in the category.

Great Britain also claimed another two medals in the -100kg category with Phillip Awiti-Alcaraz winning gold and Ben Fletcher claiming bronze.

Caroline Kinnane won gold in the -78kg women’s category with a win over Kiara Apotekar of Slovenia.

Two silver medals went to Nathon Burns in the -66kg men’s category and Hayley Willis in the women’s -48kg.

Olympian Kelly Edwards took her first international medal at -52kg with bronze and Rebecca Telfer also got bronze in the women’s -78kg category.