Sally’s Seventh Best of British at Masters as Juniors Enjoy Spanish Success

Sally Conway’s seventh place was the top result for Great Britain at this weekend’s International Judo Federation (IJF) World Masters event in Tyumen, Russia, whilst British Judo’s youngsters completed a seven-medal haul at the La Coruna Junior European Cup in Spain, including gold for Hayley Willis.

The World Masters is a highlight of the international calendar with only the top 16 athletes in the world in each weight category invited to take part.

Edinburgh-based athlete Sally Conway went into the event off the back of victory in the Samsun Grand Prix and Baku Grand Slam bronze and she continued her great form into the first contest against African Champion Asma Niang of Morocco. Conway was strong throughout the contest and she yet again showed her strength on the ground, getting an armlock on her opponent who tapped out for ippon.

This set up a quarter-final contest with London 2012 Olympic Champion and triple World Champion Lucie Decoss. Conway was on top throughout the contest and was leading on shido when she was caught by a throw for waza-ari with less than 30 seconds remaining. This didn’t leave Conway long enough to get back into the fight and she had to settle for a place in the repechage.

The repechage contest pitted Conway against European silver medallist Linda Bolder for a place in the bronze medal contest. However, early into the contest Conway was caught on the ground by an armlock which ended her challenge and resulted in seventh place.

The previous day saw London’s Ashley McKenzie in -60kg action. The draw saw the Camberley Judo Club athlete up against home athlete Beslan Mudranov, a former European Champion.

McKenzie fought well but made a small mistake and was thrown for ippon three minutes into the contest.

Royal Marine, Chris Sherrington, was competing at +100kg and faced former Olympic silver medallist Oscar Brayson. Again, Sherrington put in a good display but some strong groundwork by the Cuban meant defeat for Sherrington by ippon.

Following the tournament, GB Support Coach Luke Preston said: “The World Masters is one of the premier events in judo and all three GB athletes fought their hearts out.

“They will all learn from this and move on stronger in their preparations. Their support for each other was great.”

After exiting the competition Sally Conway commented: “It’s obviously not the result I wanted today but I will take the positives out of each fight and build on the things I need to do better. I will hope to see improvement again in Miami Grand Prix.”

Ashley McKenzie added: “I felt confident today after my recent good form but I made a mistake that cost me the match.

“I feel that on my day I can compete and beat the very best at 60kg now. I will learn from this and return to Camberley to prepare hard for Miami Grand Prix, Moscow Grand Slam and Rio World Championships.”

Meanwhile, Great Britain’s development athletes enjoyed great success, claiming seven medals at the La Coruna Junior European Cup in Spain.

Under 48kg athlete Hayley Willis led the way with her first gold medal at the level with Kirsty Powell claiming silver at -57kg. Bronze medals went to Lucas Rowe (-60kg), Connor Ireland (-66kg), Max Stewart (-81kg), Jade Lewis (-52kg) and Lucy Renshall (-63kg).