Rotorua's Donna Guy has become the first inductee for the Judo New Zealand Hall of Fame.
Guy remains the only New Zealander to have won a medal at the judo world championships - placing third in the Netherlands in 1986.
She also won two silver medals at the Commonwealth Games, in Edinburgh in 1986 and Auckland in 1990, and represented the country at the 1988 Olympics in South Korea.
Guy said it was really special to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and it marked a full cycle for her involvement in the sport.
After competing on the world stage Guy started coaching judo, but had to give it up in 1997. She suffered spinal injuries after a serious mountain biking accident and switched her focus to family and looking after her health.
"I love this sport, it is a beautiful sport and it broke my heart to have to pull away."
She said when she received the top honour at the weekend, in Tauranga, it was "pretty emotional".
"My children had not seen me in a judo hall so it was pretty special for them as well," she said.
Guy was honoured during the prize-giving ceremony at the North Island Judo Championships, and presented all the awards on the Saturday and Sunday night.
She said she really enjoyed the interaction with the young athletes, and was going to get more involved with mentoring in the sport in Rotorua.
In fact, she has already signed up with the Pacific MMA Club on Maisey Pl, to help with the young judo athletes. She said it was a good way to give back to the sport.
Guy's family, including her three daughters and husband Andrew Molijn, attended the ceremony at the weekend as well as former training partner Chris Smith and other past athletes.
Judo New Zealand president David Browne said Guy was the first name on the list when it came to honouring an inaugural inductee.
"What has happened is we have just created the Judo New Zealand Hall of Fame and Donna is our first inductee.
"We have a series of awards for people that give service to the federation but we had nothing that honoured players," he said.
"The criteria was for people that have made a significant achievement on the international scene."
He said Guy was the only Kiwi to win a medal at the world championships.
He said a lot of athletes had won Commonwealth Games medals, but the world championships were a step-up in competition, as all the top countries were entered.
A life-size banner of Guy was also made and presented at the weekend, and Browne said they would showcase it at major judo events in New Zealand.
Since her accident, Guy has made a good physical comeback. She works full-time and exercises through cycling.
She has even completed the 160km Taupo Cycle challenge, where her efforts have won her the Dan Dunne Award, which recognises a cyclist who overcomes hardship and adversity to complete the challenge.
She said she still takes pain killers when exercising but had a great specialist who works with her.