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The Women's Sports Alliance


Lucy Renshall - Olympic Judo Struggles to Global Success

While Olympic and other major global honours top most athlete wish-lists many have another dream too – becoming the undisputed number one in their sport.

While Olympic and other major global honours top most athlete wish-lists many have another dream too – becoming the undisputed number one in their sport.

Lucy Renshaw can now add that to her impressive list of achievements – and ‘rising star’ status – after becoming the first British judoka to top the world rankings since 2017.

The 26-year-old suffered a “heart-breaking” opening round defeat at Tokyo 2020 last year, but has been near relentless in the 10 months since.

Among her major achievements are victories at the Abu Dhabi, Baku and Antalya Grand Slam events, as well as a silver in Paris.

“I am so happy to be world number one,” she tells the Women’s Sports Alliance (WSA).

“At the start of the year, I wrote down a few personal goals I wanted to achieve in 2022. It is only June and I have achieved one of those goals.”

“A judo coach came into my primary school, I tried it there love it, started at my club (SKK Judo Club) and then when I was 17 I moved to Walsall to train at the British Judo centre.

“I can be really hard juggling studies with training, but the lecturers my university and the staff at British Judo are really supportive so we all work together to get the best out of both.”

Q – We know the Tokyo Olympics didn’t quite go according to plan, so how did you turn things around so quickly after the Games?

“I was in really good shape going into the Olympics, I felt great on the mat and was in the best place I’d been, so I did have a hard time when the Olympics didn’t go as well as I’d have liked.

“I knew that as soon as the Games were over I needed to get back into it as soon as possible and carry on with training and get back to competing to show that I was fully-prepared and ready.

“That’s what I did and began medalling at the top competitions.”

Q – Are there any reasons you can pin-point to your much improved form?

I think everything in training is going really well at the moment and the team at British Judo have really helped me.

“I’m really motivated and before I was winning medals, but I wasn’t as consistent going into competitions, now I’ve found that consistency.”

Q – British Judo athletes have secured medals at the last three Olympics. How much belief does that give you in the programme and your own medal prospects for Paris 2024?

“Just being around some of the medallists like Sally Conway and then Chelsie (Giles) and training with them every day really inspires me.

“It proves that it (medals) can happen for me too and it’s is really motivating.”

Q – How much a difference does becoming -63kg world number one make to you?

“Going into the next event (Budapest Grand Slam in July), which is the start of Paris 2024 qualification, I’ll be seeded number one and that should help with the draw.

“It’s a real confidence boost as it doesn’t get much better than being world number one and I know now that I can do it.

“I didn’t get a medal in Tokyo, but it’s given me the motivation to work, push and try even harder to get that medal in Paris.”

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