Conway ends European drought as Britain grabs three medals

Conway ends European drought as Britain grabs three medals
By Sportsbeat

28/04/2018 at 07:48

Persistence has paid off for Olympic bronze medallist Sally Conway as she broke her European Championships duck by claiming silver in Tel Aviv.

Conway was one of three British medallists on the second day of competition at the 2018 European Judo Championships as Gemma Howell and Lucy Renshall both won bronze.

It is Conway's best finish at a European Judo Championship, surpassing her fifth-placed in 2016, and she was thrilled with the result.

"The over-riding feeling is happiness, it's my first European medal and god knows how many I've been to so I'm happy to get a medal," she told British Judo.

"I think to myself, always believe in yourself and never give up, the amount of Europeans I've been to and never got close to a medal and today I finally made it onto that podium, I feel very proud.

"This European medal is pretty special as it's my first one."

Conway, the sixth seed, saw off Gabriella Willems in the second round, holding her down for ippon, before forcing Anka Pogacnik to tap out in the quarter-final.

She beat Croatian Barbara Matic in the semi-finals when, with just a second left on the clock, she rolled her opponent for a second waza-ari.

Three-time European champion Kim Polling faced Conway in the final and it was another tight battle that went to golden score before the Dutch judoka got a waza-ari to claim the title.

Conway was joined on the -70kg podium by Wolverhampton judoka Gemma Howell in her first European Judo Championships since moving up a weight.

"I'm kind of speechless, if you had told me this morning I would getting a medal by the end of the day I wouldn't have believed you, I'm so happy right now," she told British Judo.

"I've only been this weight for a year and didn't want to move up at the time so I can't believe I've got a European medal in that weight as well."

Polling beat Howell in the semi-finals but she bounced back against two-time world medallist Maria Bernabeu to claim the bronze medal.

Finally, St Helens judoka Lucy Renshall, in her first senior European Championships, picked up a medal after beating Tina Zeltner in the repechage final.

Success over the Austrian put Renshall into the bronze medal match and she left with a medal after fellow Brit Alice Schlesinger received hansoku-make for throwing with an armlock in her semi-final.

Finally, Britain's Stuart McWatt was beaten by a golden point from France's Alpha Oumar Djalo in the first round on his senior European Judo Championships debut in Tel Aviv.