3 Olympic Medals for Team GB Taekwondo!

Well, its all over for another 3 years at least! – and what a roller coaster of emotions.

Our amazing GB athletes did us proud again – bringing home 2 hard won silver and 1 bronze medal from Tokyo.

Lauren Williams added her name to Team GB’s Olympic taekwondo medal roll of honour in Tokyo on Monday but fell fractionally short in her attempt to strike gold. Twenty-four hours after team mate Bradly Sinden finished runner-up in the -68kg weight division, Welsh wonder Williams captured her own silver medal at -67kg.

Like Bradly, the 22-year-old was within touching distance of becoming Olympic champion in a dramatic contest with Croatia’s number one seed, Matea Jelic. But after leading 21-15 with 18 seconds left and 21-17 with 14 seconds to go, Williams eventually succumbed 25-22.

I had her but I let it go,” sighed Williams after the duo’s latest enthralling contest. “I made a mistake and messed up so I have got accept that. “It is a mental block I have got to get over. Hopefully, it won’t happen again……………“I knew I was winning but I didn’t know how long was left.

“I didn’t go out there to lose, I went out there to win a gold medal. I tried my best and I am very happy with how I performed,” she added. “It’s such a shame what happened at the end. But an Olympic silver medal isn’t bad, is it!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today, we saw Mahama Cho and Bianca Walkden in action in another roller coaster day!

Mahama Cho will take his inspiration from diving legend Tom Daley after his early exit from the men’s heavyweight tournament at Tokyo 2020. The 2017 World Championship silver medallist suffered golden point agony in his +80kg, last 16 bout against Chinese rival, Sun Hongyi.

And while Hongyi won his quarter-final bout against Croatia’s Ivan Sapina, defeat to Vladislav Larin of Russia in the semis denied Cho a shot at bronze through a lifeline repechage bout. While disappointed Cho, who will celebrate his 32nd birthday next month, was quick to look ahead.

“If you are not mentally strong enough you won’t be able to accept these kinds of circumstances,” he said……“I am prepared for whatever comes. When your plan doesn’t work, you don’t give up, you keep working…………“I am going to keep on pushing through and see what Paris looks like,” added the positive fifth seed.

 

Triple world champion Bianca Walkden collected a second successive bronze and put a brave face on the disappointment of missing her golden target, after an agonising last second, semi-final defeat to South Korea’s Lee Da-bin forced ‘Queen B’ into a match for third place against Aleksandra Kowalczuk.

However, the world number one picked herself up off the mat to punch her way to a 7-3 victory over her long-standing Polish rival.

Walkden’s bronze took Team GB’s final taekwondo medal tally to three-equalling the haul from Rio 2016.

“I am glad I came away with an Olympic medal,” said the 29-year-old Liverpudlian……….“it wasn’t the colour I trained for or expected to get. I might paint it a different colour when I get home. No one has to know!,” she quipped despite the dejection of her semi-final heartbreak.

Walkden admitted lifting herself to fight Kowalczuk in a repeat of this year’s European Championship final was a tough task. “But I didn’t want to not come out and be a true champion that I train to be for every day. “I wanted to stand there with my head held high and fight no matter what………….“I felt a bit dead inside, but I would have fought to the end even though it is killing me inside.”

Walkden, who gained five of her seven points from punches, also raised a Union Jack on a lap of honour at the end of a bitter-sweet campaign. “I just said to myself ‘Bianca you deserve to run-around with the flag to say thanks to the coach, the physios, all for my family and everyone else who has helped me.

“Deep down it was hard but It doesn’t matter what colour you have got to be, it’s all about the person you want to be and the champion you have inside you.”

Earlier, Walkden was within one second of guaranteeing herself at least silver in a see-saw penultimate round battle with Da-bin. Instead, the 2019 world champion at -73kg conjured up a winning three-point head kick to complete a 25-24 triumph.

While making no firm commitment Walkden hinted at extending her career through to Paris 2024. “I am not that bad,” she smiled. “I am not that far off and I still have something in me. Three years isn’t that long away………..“And I should be proud. I am a three-time world champion, world number one and have got two Olympic bronze medals. “Anyone else would die for that which is what I have got to remember.

“Besides, anything can happen in taekwondo. It is exciting to watch, it is so fast and I hope we have done the sport proud so more people get interested in it. As a team we could have come away with a lot more. But taekwondo is so fast; it is not a coincidence or curse. “Everyone fights to the end and that should showcase the sport and how quick and dynamic it is.

“Hopefully, more people get involved and see how hard it is to keep going at the end.”

And so ends another Olympic Games campaign.

We hope Taekwondo clubs up and down the country embraced the opportunity to celebrate our wonderful sport and Martial Art and benefit from the exposure that only an Olympic Games and our high performing athletes can generate. Hopefully you will have people banging on your Dojang doors to join!

However, its not over just yet – as our Paralympic hero’s Amy Truesdale, Matt Bush and Beth Munro head out to Tokyo in a few weeks time to take part in the first Paralympic Taekwondo competition.