Lauren Williams has become the first Welsh medallist for Team GB after winning silver in the women’s -67kg taekwondo at Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The final saw Great Britain against Croatia, Lauren’s first Olympic final.
She narrowly missed out on a gold medal in a nail-biting final 10 seconds.
Watched by Jade Jones, whose win at the 2012 Olympics inspired Williams to give up a successful junior career in kick-boxing and emulate her hero, Williams lost a three-point advantage with 10 seconds remaining to lose 25-22.
It was a heartbreaking end to a spectacular day for Williams who had carved a one-point advantage at the end of round one and who turned the tie back in her favour in the final round with two consecutive two-point trunk kicks heading into the last half-minute.
However, Jelic, the world number one who also claimed the European crown with victory over Williams in the final in April, hauled left with a three-point head-kick with nine seconds remaining and followed up with a body shot which effectively secured her win.
Speaking after the final, Lauren said “I went out there to win, I tried my best, I’m very happy with how I performed.”
She added, with a smile on her face, “Olympic silver medals aren’t bad are they?”
She said: “It’s not enough. I know it’s not enough, I had her with ten seconds to go. I messed up, I made a mistake and it’s on me,” said Blackwood fighter Williams, 22.
“I didn’t go out there to lose, I went out there to win, I tried my best in that situation and it just didn’t happen on the day.
“I’m very happy with how I performed all day, it’s gutting in the last ten [seconds]. But an Olympic silver medal, it’s not bad is it?
“I’ve not had the best preparation at all. But that’s not an excuse, I felt good coming here today, I’ve had injuries, I came out to the Games late as well which damaged my prep.
“But as soon as I got here, I hit the ground running and I was pretty confident going into today, so I’m happy.
“It’s been absolutely crazy. For my first Olympic Games, it’s been insane. A very good experience, and thanks to The National Lottery for getting me out here, I wouldn’t be here without you.
“A big thank you to the people at home. It’s been a very good day.”
The Blackwood 22-year-old surged into the Olympic taekwondo final with a thrilling 24-18 win over Rio bronze medallist Ruth Gbagbi in Tokyo.
Williams defeated her Olympic final opponent – Croatia’s Matea Jelic – on day one of the WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix 2018 at the Regional Arena, Manchester.
“I began street dancing when I was ten but got bored, it wasn’t aggressive enough!”, Lauren Williams told GB Taekwando.
Fast-forward 12 years and that 10-year-old is now a woman about to compete in an Olympic final in the martial art Taekwando.
Born in 1999, Lauren Williams was a kick-boxer before she made the switch to Taekwondo after having watched Jade Jones become Olympic Champion at London 2012 on her TV.
After only spending a few months as a senior, Lauren struck gold at the European Championships in Montreux in 2016. She was also selected as a reserve for the Olympic Games in Rio, before retaining her title as Junior World Champion later that year.
Lauren has gone on to defend her European crown and finished off 2018 with a gold at the Grand Slam in Wuxi, China.
She has also achieved gold at the European Games and added silver to her collection from the 2021 European Championships.
She is now a silver medalist in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.