GLOVES ARE ON AS LAUREN LOOKS TO DEFEND WORLD JUNIOR CROWN
Lauren Williams has packed a priceless piece of kit for the defence of her WTF Junior World Championship title in Canada (November 16-20)-her lucky gloves.
And the superstitious Welsh teenager will also make sure she puts the left one on first before going out to fight in Burnaby, Canada.
Williams, 17, is part of a 15-strong GB squad competing in North America and one of the hot favourites after becoming senior European champion earlier this year.
But the Newport starlet is confident she can shoulder the extra responsibility especially wearing her favourite piece of kit
“I have these lucky gloves that are on a gold streak at the moment,” laughs Williams. “Jade Jones and I wore them at the Euros and we both won.
“I then wore them in Greece and won the Greek Open. Then Jade wore them in training for Rio and obviously she won the Olympics.
“I also have this weird thing as well where everything on my left side goes on first; left sock, left shin pad, left glove. It’s just been like that all the time.”
However, there’s nothing fortuitous in the former kick boxer’s rise to stardom. Her 17-8 final victory over South Korea’s Hyeon-Jeong Han at the Junior Worlds two years ago proved a springboard for bigger and better things including her naming as reserve for the Rio Games.
Despite a seamless transition to the seniors Williams is looking forward to her junior defence. “There are big points up for grabs that will count towards senior rankings so this competition is big for me,” she confirmed.
“There will be more eyes on me and people will expect me to do well. I am just trying to minimise that pressure as much as I can but I am always going to have it now.”
The GB line-up also includes 2014 Junior World Championship bronze medallist, Leah Moorby, Cadet World Championships bronze medallist, Jordyn Smith of Central Taekwondo and Junior European bronze medallist, Cameron Booth.
Steve Green, Performance Pathway Manager, for GB Taekwondo, said: “This is an exciting Championships positioned at the end of the calendar year.
“Although it feels like it has been a long year much credit must go to the athletes, their clubs and the coaching team who have remained focussed for what will be a highly competitive event.”
“We have 15 athletes with a number of opportunities for them to shine next week. Although success is very high on the agenda for some, equally it will be as much about how they fight and what is learnt that sets them up to progress on their athlete journey.
“The Pathway looks forward to supporting the team at what will be a memorable Championships.”
*Away from the mat, Britain hopes for more success on Monday in a joint bid to stage three major international taekwondo tournaments Bidding partners GB Taekwondo, UK Sport, Manchester City Council, the Mayor of London’s office and British Taekwondo are presenting a strong bid to the World Taekwondo Federation to host the 2019 World Championships and 2018 WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Manchester plus the 2017 WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix at the Copper Box Arena in London.
“It’s three events, two cities and one vision,” said double Olympic Games gold medallist Jade Jones of the exciting campaign to bring world-class taekwondo back to two vibrant, dynamic and major sporting cities.
-45 Ilyas Hussain (Gurumu) London
-48 Viroshan Gnanapandithan (Gurumu) London
-55: Cameron Booth (NTC) Nottingham
-59: Jack Pickin (Stoke UTA) Stoke-on-Trent
-63: Aaron Bretland (NTC) Liverpool
-68 Dion Richardson (Premier Ki) London
-73 Tormod Davis (Central Taekwondo) Falkirk
+78 Adrian Wagstaffe (NTC) Nottingham
-42 Jordyn Smith (Central Taekwondo) Falkirk
-52: Siena Limbu Lingden (Gurumu) London
-55: Kristina Lees (Liverpool Elite) Liverpool
-59 Simone Abley (Salamander) Spennymoor
-63: Leah Moorby ( Team Ultimate) Keighley
-68: Lauren Williams (GB Academy)
+68: Rebecca McGowan (GB Academy)