ST HELENS judoka Lucy Renshall has risen to the top of the -63kg world rankings after a string of impressive performances over the past 12 months.
Renshall, from Eccleston, won his maiden Grand Slam title in Antalya in April 2021 which helped secure his place in Team GB for the Tokyo Olympics.
After the Tokyo 2020 Games, a silver medal at the Grand Slam in Paris and two more gold medals at the Grand Slams in Baku and Abu Dhabi capped a fantastic end to the 2021 season, Renshall started 2022 with a fifth place in Paris before retaining his Antalya Grand Slam title in April.
Renshall becomes GB Judo’s first world number one since 2017, when Natalie Powell became the first GB Judo woman to top the world rankings in the -78kg category.
Upon learning of his promotion to world number one, Renshall said, “I’m so happy to be world number one.
“At the start of the year, I wrote down some personal goals that I wanted to achieve in 2022. It’s only June and I’ve achieved one of those goals.
“Although my name is at the top of the leaderboard, I couldn’t have achieved this without a fantastic team supporting me.
“Without Jamie and the entire British Judo National Training Center team by my side through all the good times and the tough times, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“I also have to thank my club coach, Peter Blood at SKK Judo Club, he was the one who got me started in judo and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.”
GB Senior Women’s Performance Coach Jamie Johnson expressed her delight.
“It’s a great achievement for her and for British judo,” he said.
“There are not many judokas in the world who reach the top of the world rankings.
“Just seeing his name at the top of the leaderboard alongside other great judokas fills you with a sense of pride.
“Lucy has worked incredibly hard, not only in the last 12 months but also in the Cadet and Junior age groups, and it’s fantastic to see that hard work paying off.
“Everyone from her club coach Pete Blood at SKK to all the staff at the British Judo National Training Center who have supported Lucy since she arrived in 2013 can be incredibly proud of her achievement.
“Nor would it have been possible without the continued support of UK Sport, the National Lottery and the University of Wolverhampton, who provide our judoka with access to world-class staff and facilities.
“I’m sure it won’t be long before GB Judo has another judoka at the top of the world rankings.”
GB Judo Performance Director Nigel Donohue said: “To become World No. 1 in your chosen sport is an incredible achievement and we are extremely proud that Lucy has reached this milestone, in her career so far. .
“The challenge now is to remain World No. 1 throughout the cycle, although I have no doubt that Lucy will have great confidence in her ability to stay there and build on her success to achieve her ultimate ambitions in judo. .”
With the Paris Olympic qualifying window opening later this month, Renshall will next compete in the Budapest Grand Slam from July 8.