Judo: Sally Conway wins Paris Grand Slam for biggest victory of career

Sally Conway shows off her gold medal
Sally Conway shows off her gold medal
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Edinburgh judoka Sally Conway celebrated the biggest win of her career when she won the Paris Grand Slam, the first British woman to strike gold in the event for 21 years.

The Olympic medallist, who won bronze in the event two years ago, took the Under-70kg title after a fantastic performance throughout the day.

Conway beat world No.1 Chizuru Arai in the final, holding down her opponent with just 20 seconds left of the contest to secure a famous victory.

“I don’t think it’s even really sunk in yet. I’ve just come off the podium and listened to the national anthem in this amazing Bercy Stadium and it was just the best feeling ever,” she said.

“I think my preparation started last year when I did five weeks, six weeks in Japan and I felt like my judo come on really well. I felt like the improvements I needed to make were coming.

“Then again in Mittersill this year I just felt like I was throwing a lot more, I was kind of clear on what I needed to do. I think that gave me a lot of confidence coming into this event.”

Conway opened by beating France’s Melissa Heleine when she threw her younger opponent for ippon and the beat Sweden’s Anna Bernholm, the world No.16, to reach the last eight.

Next up was world silver medallist Maria Perez. The fight went into golden score and Conway triumphed with an arm-lock.

This put Conway into the semi-finals where she faced French judoka and world No.3 Marie Eve Gahie and Conway secured her final place by ippon.

Conway became the first British judoka into a Paris final since 2004, when fellow Scot Sarah Clark won silver.