By Hannah Blackwell
Beth Munro proved she is in course for Paralympic gold next year after becoming European para taekwondo champion in the Netherlands.
The Wales-based star took gold for Great Britain in the women’s -65 kg para taekwondo final at the European Para Championships at the Rotterdam Ahoy on Tuesday.
Just 24 hours after her Welsh Team GB teammate Keira Forsythe had won a bronze medal in the -52ky competition, Munro beat Lutfiye Ozdag of Turkey in a commanding performance, 22-8, to take gold.
It puts Munro firmly on track to be among the favourites for gold at next year’s Paralympic Games in Paris.
She said: “I feel fantastic. I think the road to Paris (2024 Paralympics) is getting closer. It’s some good points towards that, so I’m ecstatic.
“It’s been a fantastic year of sport. I’m happy to say I’ve got gold in the last four competitions that I’ve gone to. Well, the last two, I won the last two back-to-back.
“It’s been a good run. Funnily enough I said to my performance manager at the beginning of the year: my aim is to get as many golds as I can this year. I’m on path for that, I’m on track.
“So adding the European title to it, is the cherry on top of the cake. And then we’ve got the Grand Prixs and Worlds as well to come, so it’s a good amount of points up for grabs.”
The seeding system meant that Munro went straight into the finals without having to compete in a semi-final.
“It’s been a very strange day, but I came in at time, warmed-up with a sufficient amount of time also and just got focused, got in the game. I just had to come out and win that one fight and I’ve done it very successfully.”
Lütfiye Özdağ Avrupa 2'ncisi🥈
Para Taekwondo -65 kg finaline çıkan sporcumuz, İngiliz Beth Munro ile karşılaştı. Final mücadelesinde 22-8 mağlup olan sporcumuz gümüş madalyanın sahibi oldu.
— Türk Paralimpik (@TurkParalimpik) August 15, 2023
Munro only having took up para taekwondo in 2019 and then won Paralympic silver in 2021.
“The six months leading to that Paralympic silver medal was a whirlwind in itself and an ecstatic experience.
“But since then, I have been developing as an athlete. I’ve got a fantastic support team around me, my teammates and my coach. They’ve helped me to develop into the athlete I am today. So I have added a few weapons in my arsenal as they say.
“And I’ve grown technically and tactically. I think it shows on the mat currently. I can’t wait for Paris next year.
“After the Tokyo Games, my family, my biggest supporters, have been on the journey with me. But just being a role model for Parlympic sports itself… because I personally believe we don’t get the recognition that we deserve in comparison to the Olympic side.
“However, having said that, I think we are progressing to be gaining more recognition, more media coverage and things like that.
“And this event today has been on point. It’s so similar to the Games in Tokyo. The organization and the team are so fantastic. So it’s been a great organisation event.”