Capital judo star Conway strikes gold in Baku

Sally Conway, pictured, beat world No.1 Kim Polling in the final
Sally Conway, pictured, beat world No.1 Kim Polling in the final
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GREAT BRITAIN elite performance coach Jean-Paul Bell paid tribute to Edinburgh judoka Sally Conway after her triumph in the Baku Grand Slam in Azerbaijan.

Conway beat world No.1 Kim Polling in the final of the Under-70kg event to strike gold.

“Sally had a great day,” Bell said. “Her gripping, movement, ashi-waza and work-rate were excellent. This will give her confidence going into the next block of events.”

Conway, ranked eighth in the world, gained revenge for last year’s final loss to the Dutch player to win the first grand slam of the year.

The Commonwealth bronze medallist was behind in the final but launched one last attack with ten seconds left to floor her opponent and win by ippon.

It is a huge boost ahead of next month’s European Championships in the same city and gives her vital ranking points ahead of next year’s Olympics.

Conway has had an impressive few weeks, winning bronze in the Samsun Grand Prix in Turkey at the end of March and silver at the Zagreb Grand Prix last weekend.

In Baku, she came through her group by beating American Samantha Bleier and then German Szaundra Diedrich, by an arm-lock. A semi-final with Austria’s world No.5 Bernadette Graf was tough but Conway came through strongly to set up a rematch with Polling.