ST Helens judoka Lucy Renshall heads to the weekend’s British Championships in Sheffield looking to sign off an amazing year with more success.

The 25-year-old from Eccleston recently returned from the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam with another gold medal – her third of the year.

And she credits her achievements with the hard work and training she put in building up to the Olympics, which has stood her in good stead since her return from the Games.

The SKK club member, who has been based at the Judo Centre of Excellence in Walsall since 2013, won gold at Antalya earlier in the year to help earn selection to Tokyo.

But since her return she has a significant haul of silver from Paris and golds from Baku and Abu Dhabi – form that has seen her accrue points that have zoomed her up the world rankings.

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Renshall explained: “Just before the Olympics, when I won the first Grand Slam medal, I felt like I was in really good shape.

“At the Olympics I got a hard draw and it didn’t go my way but then afterwards I knew that all the hard work I had put in before was still there, so when I came back from a break I was refreshed and ready to push again.

“I think that just helped me with these last events I’ve done.”

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It is not just hard work, Renshall explained that she has also worked on techniques that are now paying dividends.

“In lockdown, when we were able to come back to the centre to train I started working on techniques on my other side so I wasn’t always right handed.

“I carried on working on that left-hand after getting back to training properly.

“In the final the final throw I threw with left-handed technique. That’s a first, so it definitely came at a good time really

“It is important because when you get the draw me and my coach Jamie Johnson do video analysis and watch a few fights of my opponents.

“When I go to competitions it’s more or less the same people so you are used to the people so it’s good to have a surprise attack or try a different tack just to throw them off a little bit,” she said.

Although July’s Olympics saw her eliminated in the first round after being paired with Japan’s Tashiro in the -63kg category, the experience has left her with a hunger for Paris and Los Angeles in the future games.

“I have obviously always wanted to go to the Olympics and it was an amazing event.

“Just being there was a great experience.

“We had some trouble getting there because of Covid and a few people tested positive at the centre before going so it was a bit of a dilemma.

“The support team at the centre did everything they could to get us there and they did.

“It ran really smoothly and successfully, but myself and Chelsie Giles unfortunately could not actually stay in the village because that positive case at centre before we left.

“It was a bit unusual - we still got the chance to go into the village and look around in there and stuff but not allowed to sleep there.

“After 48 hours of competing in any sport you had to leave.

“I think we took that as quite a positive in a way because you were able to focus.

“I don’t think my nerves got as much as it probably would have had at a normal Olympics because it seemed more down to earth or just a bit a bit more normal.

“I felt really good going into the games, so now losing at the Olympics has made me want to even more get that medal.

Renshall has tasted success at junior and under 23 levels and now is adding to that success at senior level.

“From each level it is a big step and because when you first move up you don’t get the results that you want because obviously you go into a harder category and there’s a lot more experienced players but you soon get used to it

“I think right now, yeah I’m happy with my performance but now I want to take it one step further.

“I have got I’ve got a Grand Slam medal now, I’ve got a European medal at senior level but now I want a worlds and world masters medal and then hopefully the Olympics.

“They are the three medals I’m looking to take that next step for,” she said.