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Lauren Williams is thinking about the next step after Olympic silver

·3-min read
Lauren Williams, 22, takes on Croatia's Matea Jelic
Lauren Williams, 22, takes on Croatia's Matea Jelic

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 Bennett in Tokyo.

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

Williams will return home to Blackwood later this week with an Olympic medal, just not the one she could and should have 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.

TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES - MAGIC MONDAY WRAP - RE-LIVE EVERY MEDAL ON A HISTORIC DAY FOR TEAM GB
TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES - MAGIC MONDAY WRAP - RE-LIVE EVERY MEDAL ON A HISTORIC DAY FOR TEAM GB

“I came out here thinking about the next step. Paris 2024 is 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 10 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.

TOKYO 2020 - 'THE SUPPORT'S BEEN INCREDIBLE' - ADAM PEATY SOAKS IN HIS SECOND OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL
TOKYO 2020 - 'THE SUPPORT'S BEEN INCREDIBLE' - ADAM PEATY SOAKS IN HIS SECOND OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL

"I never thought that girl in 2012 would be alongside the best athletes in the world carrying a medal around,” added Williams, who's Olympic exploits are shown live on Eurosport and discovery+.

“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 self-funded.

“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."

Stream every unmissable moment of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 live on discovery+, The Streaming Home of the Olympics.

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