So Near for Battling Bianca as GB Taekwondo Celebrates Record Championship Performance
13th May 2018
Bianca Walkden narrowly missed her bid to win three successive European Championship titles but still finished as a record breaker in Kazan, Russia tonight (Sunday).
The double World Champion, bidding for a 10th successive tournament win, suffered a surprise defeat to Poland’s Aleksandra Kowalczuk in the final of the +73kg weight division.
However, Liverpudlian Walkden’s silver medal after her first loss for 15 months, took the team’s medal haul after four days of competition to a highest ever result, in terms of quality.
With golds for Jade Jones and Lauren Williams plus a bronze for Scottish youngster, Jordyn Smith, on the opening day, the Manchester trained team finished as overall second best female squad behind Turkey.
Christian McNeish’s gold and bronze medals for Peter Longobardi-Radford and Bradly Sinden ensured GB Taekwondo finished as third best nation, only headed by Russia and Turkey.
Walkden, whose last defeat came against Turkey’s Nafia Kus at the 2017 Dutch Open, was certainly fancied to land gold.
She knocked out Croatia’s Melani Adamic 17-4 in the quarter-finals and progressed to her latest final with a 14-9 success against Kus’s compatriot, Sude Bulut.
Walkden had won her last seven meetings with 21-year-old Kowalczuk but this time came out on the wrong side of an 11-9 score line.
Teammate Jade Slavin, fighting at -73kg division, reached the quarter-finals before bowing out to Iva Rados of Croatia while Norfolk heavyweight, Jack Spall, lost 11-4 in the last 16 to Russia’s Yury Kirichenko.