When you ask Judoka Sally Conway what her future ambitions are, she will give you a straightforward answer: “I want to be Commonwealth Champion and an Olympic medallist”, she says.
Having competed at the London 2012 Olympics, Sally’s focus is now set on qualification for Glasgow. She said: “I haven’t competed at the Commonwealth Games before so Glasgow will be my first one, which I am really excited about. You need to be number one in your weight category and pick up some good results at key events throughout the year. The European and World Championships are going to be key competitions for me.”
“I tore ligaments in my shoulder in London so I just want to get as many fights in as I can before those competitions. Judo Scotland has been brilliant with support to get my back fighting fit again.”
The experience in London is something Conway says she can build on towards Glasgow, with the prospect of another home Games giving her all the motivation she needs. “London was the best experience I’ve ever had”, she says. “From the opening ceremony to the closing it was great, and the support we had from the home crowd was unbelievable.”
“The result I got at the Games was disappointing and it obviously wasn’t what I wanted but I’m going to take as much out of the experience as possible so by the time Glasgow comes around and then Rio two years after that I’ll hopefully be on top form.”
Being part of the team in London is something Sally thrived on, and she says it is something that will be even more important in Glasgow. “I really liked being in the village with all the different athletes from all those different countries. You got to meet new people and chat to athletes about their sport and I managed to get to watch a few different sports too.”
“It’s about being part of that team. In London we were all Team GB and when you walk past someone in that tracksuit, even if you don’t know them, you still say hi. You feel as it you know them because youâ€™re on the same team. Glasgow will be the same. Even if you don’t know one another personally you still want them to do well.”
Sally has seen how passionate the crowds were during London 2012, and is already looking forward to what it will be like in Glasgow next July. “Being in Glasgow and competing in front of a home crowd is something that I think we’re all excited aboutâ€, she says. “When we came back from the Games and went on the parade round Glasgow the turn-out for that was incredible. People packed out the streets and took over the pavements and the roads to come and support the Scottish athletes and I think that was just a taster of what to expect at the Commonwealth Games.”
“That support builds you up and helps to give you the confidence to go out there and perform to the best of your ability. If things aren’t going your way during a fight the crowd can get behind you and really lift you up and push you that little bit further in order to win. It’s hugely important for people to back us.
With European Championships approaching at the end of April, clearly Sally Conway is feeling good and looks back on track with her sporting journey to Glasgow.
You can follow Sally on Twitter @sconway70
Photo Credit: Alistair Devine