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World champion Bianca Walkden makes golden return to action in French capital

14th November 2021

Bianca Walkden marked her return to competition by winning gold at the French Open as GB Taekwondo fighters collected four medals in Paris.

Walkden hadn’t fought since claiming bronze at the Tokyo Olympics but soon found her groove to capture a first French title since 2013.

Lauren Williams, a gold medallist at last month’s Dutch Open, gained silver alongside teammate Maddison Moore.

And London born prospect Mo Nour completed the medal set with an encouraging bronze.

But it was Walkden who took the top spot on the podium, rounding off her comeback by beating the home favourite, Solene Avoulette 15-4 in the +73kg final.

“It was good to be back,” said the three-time world champion. “I felt nervous because I wasn’t sure what would happen.

“So, it’s nice to come back with gold. I didn’t have too many fights, but I fought who was in front of me and did the job.

“It’s nice to have a winning feeling again,” said the Liverpudlian heavyweight who next competes in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s nice to know what I need to do to prep myself for the world championships next April.

“All this fighting is for the Worlds. I feel I need more fights in the bag because I have missed out on ring time.

“But Paris (Olympics) is also only two years away, so all the points matter to get me in that top position as world number one.”

Tokyo silver medallist Lauren Williams fought at her Olympic weight of -67kg after stepping up to -73kg for the Dutch Open.

And she came close to a second successive gold medal before falling 13-12 to Brazilian, Mileni Titoneli.

Maddison Moore produced some eye-catching results en route to her silver medal at -49kg.

Portugal’s Daniela Paola Souza won their final 18-15 but only after the Blakedown star took out Spain’s Olympic silver medallist, Adriana Cerezo Iglesias 39-35 to make it the final.

“It is a good feeling, but I have more to offer,” said Moore. “The day didn’t finish like I wanted it to.

“But I am going back into the gym with a clear head and attitude in preparation for the G4 event in Saudi Arabia.”

GB Taekwondo’s fourth medal came via success for Nour in the -58kg division. The Eltham based youngster eventually lost to Spain’s Adrian Vicente Yunta.

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