Walkden sends out Euro warning with Belgian Open success
21st March 2022
Bianca Walkden put down a marker for this year’s European Championships in Manchester with victory at the Belgian Open.
The three-time world champion was one of three GB Taekwondo gold medallists in Lommel with Lauren Williams and Caden Cunningham also standing on top of the podium.
Cameron Booth from Nottingham completed the medal set with a bronze medal-winning performance.
Walkden, 30, gained her first title of 2022 with a golden point final win over French rival, Solene Avoulette.
“The Belgian Open is always a big and tough competition,” said the Liverpool heavyweight. “It was such a long day and I had some good fights.
“So, it was great to get the win and put 20 ranking points in the bag.
“Every point counts especially with the Olympics only two years away,” added Walkden, a bronze medallist at Tokyo 2020.
“It is a good stepping stone into the Europeans,” added ‘Queen B’ of the Euros taking place in Manchester from May 19-22.
“But I need to keep improving in order to go for gold.”
Huddersfield fighter Cunningham is in fine form, adding gold to silver and bronze medals at the Sofia Open in Bulgaria and President’s Cup in Albania.
Cunningham defeated Canadian Jordan Stewart 14-9 in the semi-finals of the -87kg division and then defeated Spain’s Raul M Garcia 8-3 in the final to claim his first senior gold medal.
“It is almost a relief as I knew I had gold medal potential. Now, I have finally made it happen,” said the 18-year-old West Yorkshire prospect.
“It was a good match against a tough opponent,” said Cunningham. “I had fought him before, so I had to take my time and execute each opportunity I got.”
Olympic silver medallist Williams claimed her first title of the year with a 33-14 success over French opponent, Bintou Diakite.
The European Taekwondo Championships will take place between 19-22 May 2022 and see the best athletes from across the continent go head-to-head on UK soil for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics.
Secure your tickets by clicking here.