Release Date : 01-Jun-2014 | Name : Sally Conway | Category : Judo
Author : Myak Homberger
Sally Conway has been described by many in the press as ‘slight framed’ - yet this belies who and what she is. Sally is currently 9th in the world and
one of Britain’s toughest, most tenacious and physical judoka. With an impressive tally of medals to her name she is well on the road to achieving her
goals. To date she has won 29 Gold’s, 11 Silvers and 17 Bronze medals in tournaments on the world stage: this is the mark of what she is as an athlete.
One of the nicest and continually smiley athletes to chat to, Sally seems so calm for someone with the pedigree we spoke of above. For her it’s been a
journey from a ten year old girl till now, working on her mental game and switching between friendly and smiley off the mat and completely focussed on
the mat. “I have had to work on the mental side of things,” she says.
For Sally part of the enjoyment that she gains from this is the knowledge that she is always learning, adapting, changing - and she revels in this. “You
can always better yourself; there is always something to aim for,” she says with such enthusiasm. It is an interesting state of mind: Sally enjoys the
constant change and improvement which many would find unsettling - but she sees it as positive and a large part of why she chose Judo over so many of the
other sports she was good at. “You never stop learning - and I love that,” Sally commented on part of her reason for picking Judo.
Despite wanting to constantly change, learn and grow, the interesting thing is that Sally is very peaceful and calm. There is no sense of frustration
or dissatisfaction with Sally, she is happy with where she is at. This in part is due to injuries that over time have taught her to be able to reflect
on her successes and shorten her goals to manageable targets. She wants to grow but she is now also enjoying the journey, enjoying the constant state of
learning. Sally is very clear that the successes are there to be enjoyed as well - and it is her view that you learn from everything that has ensured such
a positive outcome from her injuries.
Having said all of that it in no way diminishes the fire she has to win or her desire to top the world rankings and medal tables. “My target isn’t Dans
but medals, titles and the Olympics,” she says very quickly when I ask her about her goals. Sally knows exactly what she wants and where she is going,
but for her it doesn’t need to consume her - and this ultimately makes her a better person, athlete and Judoka.
Sally is clear that she doesn’t want to leave any stone unturned in her career. “I don’t want to get to the end of my career and say if only I did this
or that…no regrets.” So Sally does push and train hard and makes sure that those mornings when her body is aching she still gets up and throws herself
into it. It’s why she has numerous small jobs that help pay the bills in between Judo. It’s so that she can get to the end of her career and look back
knowing she gave it her all - but interestingly, she never says ‘it is so I can say I won this or I won that’.
For Sally it is about moving forward, growing and enjoying every moment. This in no way means she doesn’t have determination - just look at her medal
tally. There is huge steel and determination there under the small frame and smiley demeanour, don’t be fooled. This is a world class athlete who is focusing
on the right things and in so doing is achieving the very things that so many make their focus yet miss out on the richness that Sally has gained, to grow,
to learn and most importantly to enjoy.
I look forward to seeing Sally’s career develop and for now, the Commonwealth Games as her next challenge.