The 21-year-old is now ranked 8th in the European rankings at this weight, but with a GB place for Beijing requiring a 5th or above in the women’s categories, she still has to put in strong performances at the Warsaw World Cup next weekend, and the 2008 European Championships.
In her first fight of the pool the Edinburgh Club player beat the very physical Gisele Mendy of Senegal, and then Erica Barbier of Italy after a flurry of scores, which proved that she was the strongest of the pair.
Against the experienced Yulia Kuzina of Russia her opponent went a score up early on with a leg grab. Sally then went in for a throw, which the Russian resisted causing the referee to incorrectly score an ippon against the Brit. Once this was rectified Conway managed to get a koka score on the board to bring the scores level. Conway built the pressure up after this and finally threw the Russian for ippon to win the fight.
In the semi-final Conway threw Shumei Dou of China for a waza-ari score quite early on in the fight. The left handed Chinese fighter relentlessly came at the Brit and she succumbed to two penalties. Despite this the Edinburgh player stayed in the fight and handled Dou well to secure the win and place in final. Afterwards a delighted Conway said, “Every competition and every contest I feel like I am getting better and stronger, so I am really looking forward to the final”.
In the final Conway faced the formidable Castillo of Cuba, in a fight that remained close to the end. However the Cuban scored a yuko on the young Brit, which was the deciding score in the contest.
“I am disappointed that I have lost but this medal and performance is the next step in my senior career”, Conway said afterwards.
Britain’s other place came from Sarah Clark who finished 7th in the -63kg despite being unwell in the run up to the tournament.
In her pool Clark consciously changed her style of fighting by trying to control the pace to deal with her recovery from illness. This paid off as she threw the Brazilian Yuri Barbosa for ippon.
She then made easy work of German Champion Stephanie Steinmetz again beating her opponent by the maximum ippon score but lost to Anicka Van Emden of the Netherlands, which left Clark in the repechage.
Next it seemed to be a stalemate against the 2003 World Champion Krukower of Argentina, with both fighters being tall and left handed. Despite this Sarah proved to be sharp on the ground and finished fight off with a strangle. She also looked strong against Virginie Henry of France who she threw for the maximum ippon score.
Clark’s final match was against World and Olympic medallist Sun Hui Kye of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Clark was held down for ippon, which finished the fight as well as Clark’s hopes for a medal.
The last World Cup events take place next weekend when Craig Fallon, James Millar, Colin Oates, Matt Purssey, Lee Shinkin, Winston Gordon, James Austin and Andy Burns travel to the 2008 Prague World Cup. Georgina Singleton, Faith Pitman, Sally Conway, and Gemma Gibbons will travel to the 2008 Warsaw World Cup.
To qualify the GB spot for Beijing a top 9 placing for men, or a top 5 placing for women, is required at the end of the qualification period (only one spot per country allowed).
The latest European Olympic Qualification Rankings following the weekend’s events can be found below.
2nd Craig Fallon
4th James Millar
18th Matt Purssey
GB spot qualified
10th Winston Gordon
GB spot qualified
12th Georgina Singleton
15th Sophie Johnstone
9th Faith Pitman
2nd Sarah Clark
8th Sally Conway
20th Samantha Lowe
1st Michelle Rogers
GB spot qualified