THORNBURY judo star Sally Conway has flown out to Brazil this week with a target of becoming an Olympic Games champion.

Conway is not officially part of the Team GB squad for the Games yet, and has to qualify – as do all players who are aiming for selection this year across the UK – but her chances are excellent after a series of good results already this year.

The 29-year-old, who fought for Britain in the London Olympics four years ago, was in Germany last month where she finished fifth in the Dusseldorf Grand Prix in her Under-70kg weight category.

Conway showed some strong attacking judo from the outset in that tournament, throwing Chao Zhou, of China, for Ippon with a well-executed foot sweep.

At the quarter-final stage, after defeating Dutch fighter Natascha Ausma with an arm lock, Conway came up against Bernadette Graf, of Austria.

She went a Yuko down and got caught with a throw for Ippon while attacking Graf in the final stages of the contest.

But, in the repechage, Conway defeated Cuba’s Onix Cortes Aldama with another display of good ground work, forcing the submission.

And, in the bronze medal contest, Conway faced Germany’s Laura Vargas Koch in front of her home crowd. The home judoka managed to defeat Conway who was forced into submission with a strangle hold, yet the Thornbury ace was pleased enough with fifth place.

She said: “That has given me a good place to qualify for Rio this year. I am ranked at number six in the world for my weight and number one in the UK. You have to be in the top 16 to qualify.

“In Germany, I did not get a medal but I put in some good performances and I had a good feeling coming away from this tournament.”

Conway will be aiming to make up for a ‘tiny mistake’ which cost her progress at the London Olympics four years ago.

There, despite a brave effort against second seed Edith Bosch, of Holland, she lost to a Wazari score.

She is currently getting a taste of what could be if she lands a place with Team GB in Rio. Conway said: “We are going there for three weeks and for the first week, we are going to Bello Horizonte, where our holding camp will be before the Games.

“We are then going to the test event and then going for a week training camp. It will be good to see where we are competing and the test event will be in the same arena as we will be competing in the Games.

“If and when I qualify, I will be going to Rio to get an Olympic medal and to be Olympic champion but I think that if I just go there and fight to the best of my ability, I will be happy anyway.”

And after her experience in London, Conway is not concerned about tackling the best in the world and that includes world number one Kim Polling from Holland.

“I will fight anyone,” said the Thornbury ace. “If I continue to keep going, I will put myself in a good position for a medal.”

Conway, who now lives and trains in Scotland and competed for that nation in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, should know if she has made Team GB in the next few months but it would be a complete shock if she was not on the plane to Rio for her big shot at an Olympic gold medal.