Becs Appeal – Mighty McGowan Crowned US Open Champion
5th March 2019
Rebecca McGowan hit the jackpot in Las Vegas, producing a series of stunning performances to become US Open champion at the first attempt.
The 18-year-old from Dumbarton defeated top seed and former Olympic champion, Milica Mandic, 27, on her way to the final of the -73kg weight division.
She then rounded off a memorable tournament by beating home favourite and second seed, Madelynn Gorman-Shore 7-5.
That was sweet revenge for the 18-year-old prospect after losing to the American in the semi-finals of the World Grand Slam in China last December.
And it was double tops for the Scots as junior world champion, Jordyn Smith struck gold in the -46kg division.
The GB Taekwondo team certainly ensured the long journey to the States was worthwhile with double world champion, Bianca Walkden, and reigning European champion, Christian McNeish collecting silver medals. Additionally, there was bronze for Maddison Moore (-49kg) and for the Development Team’s Mason Yarrow of Ultimate Taekwondo.
McGowan has been threatening to produce a title winning competition for some time with a series of bronze medals in 2018 before her run to the last four of the Grand Slam.
“It feels amazing to come first at last,” said McGowan who celebrated victory with a burger and a Slush Puppie.
“All the tough training has been worth it and is definitely paying off.
“I tried to stay focussed and composed until the last seconds.
“That definitely helped me in the second match when it was so tight,” she said of her 8-5 win against Serbian great Mandic. “Also in the last match when I managed to lead and the gap was so small.
“I just had to stay on plan until the end,” added McGowan who defeated Brazilian Raphaella Galacho 6-3 in the semi-finals.
Liverpudlian Walkden reached the final of the +73 kg division before losing to Mexico’s Briseida Acosta.
Londoner McNeish, 21, made a welcome return to form at -68kg, producing four impressive wins to reach the final.
His showdown with China’s Olympic and World champion, Shuai Zhao, was his closest contest of the competition and he only just came up short losing 19-17.
In the men’s heavyweight tournament recent President’s Cup winner, Mahama Cho, lost 23-20 against Turkey’s Emre Kutalmis Atelsi in the quarter-finals.
Damon Sansum, champion in 2015, also went down in the last eight beaten 21-5 by Wei-Ting Liu.