Bomb scares and burgers weren’t quite the lockdown experience Lauren Williams had in mind.
The Blackwood-born taekwondo star has had one of the more eventful lay-offs during lockdown, being evacuated from her home on VE Day after her dad, Allan, discovered a suspected bomb during a spot of gardening.
Closer analysis revealed it was only a fence post but that didn’t stop her nearest three streets being evacuated, with socially-distant celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II being temporarily halted.
The 21-year-old ace has recently returned to training in Manchester and has been making the most of eased lockdown restrictions, living with fellow athlete Amy Truesdale and cracking on with business as usual ahead of the sport’s return.
Burgers have replaced black belts and Williams couldn’t wait to tuck into a long-overdue taste of indulgence at her local Viet Shack restaurant.
“I’ve just ordered my first burger, for what feels like forever, as we speak!” Williams, one of 1,100 athletes supported by National Lottery funding through the UK Sport World Class Programme, said.
“We’re talking about four or five years since I last had a burger – Amy asked if I wanted to go out for food and I just thought ‘why not?’
“I always get salads and I never treat myself but I thought ‘right, today’s the day!’ I had a duck burger on the way, but had to ask the waitress what she’d recommend as there was also crab and I couldn’t decide.
“Lockdown in general has been positive, but when we were gardening the other week my dad was digging and hit something metal.
“We thought ‘that’s not right!’ and just couldn’t justify it being there, as all we could see was the metal of what looked like a mortar bomb!
“My dad called the officer, who closed our street, and two others behind it. There was so much drama it was unreal, and slightly crazy to experience!”
National Lottery funding helped propel Williams to securing one of Great Britain’s qualification spots for Tokyo, following up her 2018 Grand Slam glory in Wuxi by booking a British seat on the plane.
Williams is yet to get a taste of the bright Olympic lights but is hoping to add to the 864 medals scooped by Team GB and Paralympics GB athletes since National Lottery funding started 23 years ago.
Williams competes in the -67kg category and has already enjoyed success at the highest level, having clinched gold medals in her weight division at the London and Manchester Grand Prix in 2017 and 2018.
GB Taekwondo’s rising star has been causing domestic carnage back at her parents’ and can’t wait to make her mark at her maiden Games next summer.
“I’ve turned my mum’s living room into a gym – ornaments were destroyed and I’ve ruined the room!” she added.
“It’s awful and I feel so bad! But having this extra year will allow me to mature into the athlete I’d rather be for Tokyo.
“I’m really excited for the Games now and definitely want to medal, but realistically I’m after that gold!
“And I want to say a massive thank you to National Lottery funding – without it, we wouldn’t be where we are and I’m so grateful for all those who play.”
For more information about how the National Lottery helps aspiring Olympians, visit lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/stories/track-to-tokyo
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