Lauren Williams has admitted to enjoying her gold medal victory after a series of dominant performances at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix in London.
The teenage sensation from Blackwood spearheaded a full set of Great Britain medals at the competition’s opening night on Friday, October 20 at the Copper Box Arena in Hackney’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The 18-year-old turned in a series of stunning, high octane displays on her way to her first Grand Prix title.
Williams had failed to win a medal in her only other Grand Prix in Moscow last August.
She defeated German Rabia Gulec 23-8 in the opening round before facing a tougher test against reigning world champion Nur Tatar in the quarter-finals.
Williams’ late flurry forced extra-time before securing the golden-point victory over the Turk ranked number one in the world.
Powering past American Olympic bronze medallist, Paige McPherson, 32-26 in the semi-final, Williams saved her best performance for last.
A crushing 43-23 victory over shell-shocked Ivory Coast rival, Ruth Gbabgi, in the final of the -67kg division secured Williams the gold medal and a cheque for $5,000.
The 18-year-old said: “I beat some top girls along the way and I am lost for words to be honest.
“I was on it all day and that’s the first time, I think, I have enjoyed a competition. What worked for me was I didn’t put any of the other girls above me.
“I just focussed on my own game plan and it worked.”
The Blackwood star, who became senior European champion and won the Greece and Polish Open competitions during a spectacular 2016, was also named as Young Sportswoman of the Year at the BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality ceremony in Cardiff to cap off a breakthrough year.
GB Taekwondo’s Performance Director, Gary Hall, said: “Lauren was outstanding and she was involved in one of the fights of the tournament.
“She has always had a clear mission on what she wants to achieve. Her family backed it and we have backed it.
“The really exciting bit is she is 70 percent of what she can be. She will be even better.”