SALLY Conway claimed a brilliant judo bronze last night in Rio to become the fifth Scottish medallist of these Olympic Games, defeating Austria’s Bernadette Graf by a single yuko in the 70kg category.
The 29-year-old, who also landed Commonwealth bronze at Glasgow 2014, was stunned on golden points in her semi by Colombia’s Yuri Alvear after three times coming so close to landing a knockout score.
But the Ratho-based fighter rebounded to earn a spot on the podium with an impeccable performance that banished the demons of her early exit at London 2012 and took the prize she wanted. “I will never let it go,” she said. “It’s not leaving my sight. For me it always used to be the case I had to get these major medals to be something in judo. It’s not the medals that make you the person you are. Not having medals doesn’t make you a lesser person. The whole team from the last four years is amazing. To qualify with the amount of players we have this time is so good. They all deserve a medal. I’m happy to bring a medal back for the team.”
Japan’s Haruka Tachimoto beat Alvear by ippon to win the gold medal and Germany’s Laura Vargas Koch defeated Spain’s Maria Bernabeu by wazari to win the other bronze medal contest.
But Conway built on the momentum of stunning France’s reigning world champion Gevroise Emane by ippon in the second round to deliver the performance of her life.
“The better you fight during the day, the more wins you have under your belt, you do grow in confidence,” she said. “At the start of the day I was very nervous.”