THORNBURY Olympian Sally Conway has said her sights are firmly on the Olympics in two years’ time as the qualification process formally begins this weekend.

The 31-year-old former Marlwood student, who claimed an emphatic bronze medal in Rio 2016, has already been selected by Team GB in the -70kg category for the World Championships in September, but has said she will be taking it ‘one fight at a time’ as she pushes towards Tokyo 2020.

With all competitions she faces between now and then contributing to her potential qualification, the world number 11’s first chance to make an impression will be this weekend at the Zagreb Grand Prix in Croatia.

“The competition is looking strong,” she said. “Because it is a qualifying event for the Olympics, a lot of talented fighters are going to be there.

“That is going to be the case for every tournament I enter now, with a lot of depth to the competition, so it is important I get my head in the right place and that I perform as best I can so I have more of a chance of walking away with a medal.”

In two weeks’ time, Conway will compete in the Budapest Grand Prix, with the World Championships taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan, at the end of September.

“If I can continue to do that over the coming tournaments, it gives me a better chance of qualifying for Tokyo,” she said.

“But even though these points all go towards Olympic qualification, it is still the same tournaments I have been doing. Nothing else changes.”

This season has already been one to remember for the Thornbury judoka, winning European Championship silver in Tel Aviv, bronze at the Antalya Grand Prix and a historic gold at the Paris Grand Slam, making her the first British woman to do so in more than 20 years.

Having picked up a slight ankle injury following a training camp in Tokyo, which she has since overcome, Conway said she hadn’t been on the mats as much as she would have liked, but still felt strong and excited to fight.

“My main goal is to qualify for the Olympics in two years’ time and get that gold medal,” she said, “but I have to take it one competition at a time, focus on doing my best at that event in order to continue moving forward.

“I am determined to just keep myself fit and health and look after myself, because anything can happen.

“Judo of course comes from Japan, so to have the chance to qualify to compete in Tokyo as my last Olympic Games would be pretty special. To do well would be even better.”

With the World Championships less than two months away, Conway said she was focused on ensuring she was in a position to better her previous tournament best of fifth place, which she achieved at Rotterdam in 2009.

“That was a long time ago and I have learned a lot since then.

“I am feeling good leading up to the Worlds, I am confident that if I can deliver my best performance on that day I am capable of then I have every chance of coming back with a medal.

“It would mean so much to win a world championship medal, whether this year or next year. I have never won one before, it’s one of the biggest ones I am missing, and I would love to have that under my list of achievements.”