Conway’s silver in Samsun could ensure her top eight spot

Sally Conway picked up her second silver medal of the season at the Samsun Grand Prix in Turkey along with valuable world ranking points which could see her re-enter the top eight in the world ranking list.

It was ippons all the way until the final as London 2012 Olympian Conway was only stopped from retaining last year’s Samsun gold medal by a late yuko from the world silver medallist Laura Vagas Koch of Germany.

Once again the German proved to be Conway’s nemesis, just as she was when the pair met in the Baku semi-final last year and the Brit was forced to settle for bronze.

On her journey to silver Conway first beat Yarden Mayersohn of Israel before gripping Barbara Timo of Brazil, Tashkent gold medallist, on the ground in the quarter-final.

The 2013 Samsun gold medallist then took revenge against last year’s silver medallist Assmaa Niang of Morocco in the semi-final, turning the tables on their last match at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix final.

This booked her place in the final to defend her 2013 title, where she was forced to settle for silver, but the result does pick her up valuable points.

“I felt quite relaxed all day and happy with my performance even though I lost the final,” said Conway.

“There are some positives from the day which I will take forward to the European Championships.”

Women’s lead coach, Kate Howey said: “Sally fought really well and her ne-waza has been exceptional all day. Hopefully this will put her back in the top eight of the World Ranking list and it is a good warm up for the Europeans.”

Elsewhere today, there were high hopes for Rijeka -63kg gold medallist Faith Pitman.

However, Pitman lost out to Abu Dhabi gold medallist Kathrin Unterwurzacher of Austria by ippon. She made a swift exit in the first round, as did Miami Grand Prix -81kg gold medallist Tom Reed against Adlet Missin of Kazakhstan.

In other news Connie Ramsay took a silver medal in Bosnia and John Buchanan bounced to bronze medal in the Sarajevo European Cup.

More action tomorrow with Natalie Powell (-78kg) and Ben Fletcher (-100kg) in action.
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Words by Donna Richardson. Photos IJF.