Sally Conway won Team GB’s first judo medal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after a stunning day that ended with a well-deserved bronze in the -70kg category.
Conway impressed immensely in the opening rounds securing three straight wins by ippon, including over world champion Gevrise Emane of France, to reach the semi-finals.
The 29-year-old, from Bristol, gave a good account of herself against Yuri Alvear of Colombia in the semi-final but lost by waza-ari before quickly returning to battle for bronze.
Conway wasn’t going to waste her second medal opportunity and defeated Bernadette Graf of Austria by one yuko to claim bronze on her second Olympic outing.
“It feels absolutely amazing; I am so happy I can’t even put it into words at the moment,” said Conway.
“I didn’t have much time in between [the semi-final loss and the bronze medal match]. One minute you have to the chance to become Olympic champion and the next you are fighting for a bronze medal.
“It was such a quick turnover I didn’t have much time to think, I just had to get bronze after everything I put myself through today.
“The better you fight during the day and the more wins you get under your belt you do grow in confidence. At the start of the day I was very nervous and wondering what today might hold but as the day has gone on I have enjoyed it more and more.”
Conway made her Olympic debut at London 2012 four years ago but lost in the round of 16 and got a tattoo of the word ‘believe’ on her wrist a year later to remind her of her talent.
And, while her maiden Olympic medal is still fresh, Conway isn’t ruling out going for a golden upgrade at the next Games in Tokyo in 2020.
“London 2012 was such an amazing experience for me but also a massive disappointment [she lost in the round of 16] but to come away with a bronze medal at Rio 2016, makes every moment worth it,” she added.
“Tokyo 2020 is not out of the question, we will see, but I will enjoy this moment and see afterwards.
“I told myself to believe in myself, you have got to believe in yourself, I have even got a tattoo on my arm [saying ‘believe’]. You have got to believe that you are up there with the best and go out confident and do your thing.”