Loughborough Echo

Paris, LA... I will keep going until I get gold medal



TANYA Williams quit her job, moved into a caravan and left half her family behind so her eldest daughter could climb the Olympic mountain, writes Charlie Bennet, of Sportsbeat, in Tokyo.

And Lauren Williams is more determined than ever to take that last step after her Tokyo taekwondo heartbreak.

Williams, who studied at Loughborou­gh College, will return home to Wales this week with an Olympic silver medal after letting slip a three-point lead with just 10 seconds remaining of her welterweig­ht final against Croatia’s Matea Jelic.

The 22-year-old said she allowed herself 15 minutes to mourn the gold she could almost reach out and touch, but by the following morning the switch had been flicked to the next two Games.

“I came out here thinking about the next step. Paris 2024 is in my sights, LA 2028 is in my sights. I am going to keep going until I get that gold medal,” she said.

“Even if I don’t, I want to give it everything I have and do my best.

“Now I know I am capable of doing it, I was ten seconds away. “It is just a matter of time.” Williams was first talent spotted and invited to train at the GB Taekwondo academy in Manchester when she was 14, almost 200 miles away from the family home.

Not every mum would quit their job and live in a caravan for 18 months so their child could get the best training – but Tanya decided to do just that until Lauren was old enough to live in athletes’ accommodat­ion.

They left dad Allan and younger sister Kirstie behind and family time was difficult to organise, with weekend training sessions and matches across the country.

But their support has been unwavering and on Monday they gathered at the family home to cheer Lauren on, with Tanya even heading out to the shop for snacks to feed the gathering media.

“I never thought that girl in 2012 would be alongside the best athletes in the world carrying a medal around,” said Williams.

“My family have sacrificed everything for me.

“I lived in a caravan with Mum for two years, she took a career break.

“My dad stayed in Wales and my sister went and lived with my grandparen­ts, so my family was split.

“I moved schools, I lost my friends. It was a challengin­g time financiall­y as well – we were selffunded.

“We would not change anything for the world.

“These are the moments you sacrifice everything for.

“I don’t have a gold medal but it’s an Olympic medal nonetheles­s.

“I am so proud of what I achieved. It has been difficult but I would not change anything for the world.

“I was FaceTiming my parents all day, just for that reassuranc­e it’s just another competitio­n.

“My mum and dad having a cup of tea at home is very normal.”

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise about £36 million each week for good causes including grassroots and elite sport. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has at http://www.lotterygoo­dcauses. and get involved by using the hashtags: #TNLAthlete­s #MakeAmazin­g

HIGH KICKS: Lauren Williams, left, fighting Croatia’s Matea Jelic in their gold medal bout
MARTIN RICKETT/PA HIGH KICKS: Lauren Williams, left, fighting Croatia’s Matea Jelic in their gold medal bout

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