British judoka Sally Conway, who claimed a bronze medal at Rio 2016, today announced her retirement from the sport ©Getty Images

British judoka Sally Conway, who has won bronze medals at Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and World Championships, has announced her retirement from the sport at the age of 34.

Conway, described as a "pioneer" of the sport in Britain, said she felt the time was now right to take a "step back" from judo.

"I always said to myself ‘I will know when the times comes, and I am ready to stop’ regardless of results and performances," said Conway.

"I wanted to know and feel when the right time to stop was. I think had Tokyo 2020 gone ahead as planned last year, I 100 per cent would have competed.

"The last year has given me a lot time to take a step back and reflect on the future and some may question the timing with Tokyo less than six months away, but in my heart I feel like now is the right time to take that step back.

"I am so happy with what I have achieved within the sport and how my career has gone that I feel that is it for me now and I am ready to close this chapter and see what the future holds."

Conway, who competed in the under-70 kilograms category, won a bronze medal on home soil in Glasgow at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Other career highlights for Conway included bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, bronze at the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo and gold in the 2018 Paris Grand Slam.

"The Worlds are special as it was my eighth World Championships," said Conway.

"I also think my Paris Grand Slam gold was also my eighth appearance at the competition too.

"That is something that is testament to my career, I have never given up. I always try to better myself and be the best that I can be.

"These results never ‘just happen’ there has been a lot of hard work behind the scenes that has gone into achieving these performances.

"What made me so successful was having to deal with those losses earlier in my career.

"I have learnt so much from the low times that I was able to achieve the great performances later on and it made those successes all the sweeter knowing the journey I have been on."

Paying tribute, British Judo chief executive Andrew Scoular said: "Sally has been a pioneer for British Judo for a number of years and she will leave a big hole in British Judo.

"Her storied career will have inspired a range of new judoka to step on to the mat and we will always be grateful for her contribution both on and off the mat.

"I will never forget some of her career highlights from watching her claim Britain’s sole medal at the Rio Olympics to completing her international medal collection at the World Championships in Tokyo.

"The smile on her face throughout those events was infectious. I would like to thank UK Sport and the National Lottery that have helped fund Sally’s journey to success.

"We are saddened that we won’t see her grace a judo mat again but wish her every success for the future!"

Conway said she was "keeping her options open" going forward but was considering coaching, doing sports massages and public speaking during her retirement.