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GB’s Williams takes taekwondo silver

Dates: 23 July-8 August Time in Tokyo: BST +8
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live, Sports Extra and Sounds; live text and video clips on BBC Sport website and app.

Great Britain’s Lauren Williams took silver in the women’s -67kg taekwondo competition at Tokyo 2020 after losing the final bout to Croatia’s Matea Jelic.

Williams, 22, was beaten 25-22 but picks up GB’s second silver medal in taekwondo at the Games.

Egypt’s Hedaya Malak won bronze for a second successive Olympics after defeating American Paige McPherson in their medal bout.

Wales’ Williams, making her Olympic debut, led with 14 seconds on the clock before Jelic came back right at the end to snatch the gold medal.

Immediately after the bout, Williams told BBC Sport: “It’s not enough, I had her, about 10 seconds to go, but I just let it go… I made a mistake and let it go, it’s on me.

“I went out there to win and tried my best but it didn’t happen on the day. I am very happy with how I performed but it’s a shame she got it. An Olympic silver medal is not bad, is it?”

Third seed Williams, a former kickboxer, switched to taekwondo after watching compatriot Jade Jones win gold at London 2012 while on a caravan holiday.

She was first selected to train with the GB squad at the age of 14 after applying for the lottery-funded Fighting Chance scheme.

Her mother gave up her job to move with her and they lived in a caravan for 18 months.

At 17, Williams travelled to Rio 2016 as a reserve and witnessed her hero Jones become a double Olympic champion.

And Jones, who suffered a shock defeat in her first round on Sunday, was watching and supporting in Tokyo on Monday as Williams picked up Team GB’s fifth medal of the day.

It was also a second taekwondo silver of the Games, after Bradly Sinden was beaten by Uzbekistan’s Ulugbek Rashitov in the final of the men’s -68kg on Sunday.

Williams versus Jelic was the final most predicted in this event and it was an intense bout as both fighters displayed contrasting tactics.

Top seed Jelic defended for large parts, picking up points on the counter-attack as Williams looked to do damage on the front foot.

Williams had opened up a seven-point lead in the final round and was seconds away from glory when Jelic hit back late on with devastating effect.

The Briton, tipped by Jones in 2017 to become “one of the world’s best”, was disappointed in the aftermath but reflected that winning silver was a “very good experience”.

“I’ve not had the best prep at all. But that’s not an excuse – I felt good today,” she said.

“I’ve had injuries and I had something at home where I had to come out later, which damaged my preparation.

“But as soon as I got here, I hit the ground running and I was pretty confident. It’s been absolutely crazy, insane. My first Olympic Games – a very good experience.”

Two-time Olympic medallist Lutalo Muhammad said: “Trust me, there’s a lifetime in one second in taekwondo. That’s what makes the sport so exciting, so dynamic.

“What an advertisement for taekwondo. There have been so many victories in the last 10-20 seconds, it really shows you can’t take your eyes off the TV screen for even a second.”

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