TEEN STAR WILLIAMS WEIGHS IN FOR NEW CHALLENGE
European champion Lauren Williams takes a step into the unknown this weekend as she continues her Taekwondo education.
Named as one of four reserves by GB Taekwondo for next month’s Olympic Games, Williams is part of a three-strong team competing at the Luxembourg Open.
The Welsh teenager won her first senior Euro title fighting at -67kg but now moves upto -73kg. She will be joined in the same weight division by last month’s Austrian Open champion at +73kg, Jade Slavin.
The squad is completed by Anthony Stephenson, coached by London 2012 Olympian, Martin Stamper, fighting at -68kg.
However, all eyes will be on 17-year-old Williams from Blackwood, Gwent, the 2014 World Junior champion and a recent winner of the Greece Open.
“I’m excited to fight in a heavier weight category in Luxembourg,” says the Rio 2016 understudy for Bianca Walkden.
“I’m looking forward to fighting bigger and stronger girls. It’s going to be tough.
“But I’m just going out there to play my game, apply my strengths and hopefully come back with some valuable ranking points ahead of the Grand Prix Final.”
Slavin, 23, from County Durham was also a contender for a reserve berth but has fought only sparingly this year due to injury.
However, she returned to form and fitness in Austria where her run to the gold medal included the scalp of Serbia’s London 2012 Olympic champion, Milicia Mandic.
Stephenson, 24, the 2015 Greece Open champion, returns to action for the first time since the inaugural President’s Cup and will contest the -68kg weight category.
-68kg: Anthony Stephenson (Bury)
-73kg: Jade Slavin (Consett), Lauren Williams (Newport).