Beth Munro ‘on cloud nine’ after winning GB’s first Paralympic taekwondo medal

·4-min read

British fighter Beth Munro was “on cloud nine” after claiming a historic first Paralympic taekwondo medal for her country by winning silver in the women’s K44 -58kg class.

In only her second international competition, the 28-year-old was defeated 32-14 by Denmark’s Lisa Gjessing in the final at Makuhari Messe Hall in Tokyo.

The Korean martial art is making its Games debut in Japan and Liverpudlian Munro had secured a podium place by successfully coming through fights against Nepal’s Palesha Goverdhan, Turkey’s Gamze Gurdal and China’s Li Yujie.

“I’m a little bit disappointed I let it get away from me in the first round (of the final) but I’m ecstatic with a silver today,” she said.

“The journey I’ve been on is so short, to come away as a silver medallist as a Paralympian, I’m on cloud nine.

“I got goosebumps on the podium so onwards and upwards to Paris 2024.”

Earlier, table tennis star Will Bayley collected his second silver in Japan following defeat in the class six-seven team final alongside Paul Karabardak.

The British pair went down 2-0 in their gold medal match against China’s Yan Shuo and Liao Keli at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

World champion Yan had beaten Bayley in Sunday’s class seven singles final and once again proved to be a formidable opponent for the Strictly Come Dancing star.

The Britons were on the back foot having lost the doubles match 11-7 12-10 11-2 and were unable to fight back in the singles.

Bayley, who overcame a serious knee injury suffered on Strictly to compete, made a strong start by taking the opening game against Yan but ultimately lost 3-1 overall, denying Welshman Karabardak a chance to take on Liao.

Will Bayley, left, and Paul Karabardak won silver medals on Friday
Will Bayley, left, and Paul Karabardak won silver medals on Friday (imagecommsralympicsGB/PA)

“He played really well but I didn’t take my opportunities and that is what sport is all about,” said Bayley.

“We had another chance in the doubles at 10-8 in the second but this is what it is all about and that is why they are the champions and we’re not. You have to take those chances, especially against China.”

At Fuji International Speedway, visually-impaired rider Sophie Unwin and pilot Jenny Holl capped a successful Games for Britain’s cyclists by collecting the team’s 24th medal.

The world champions won silver in the women’s B road race in 2:36:00, just seven seconds adrift of Ireland’s Crawley-born rider Katie-George Dunlevy and her guide Eve McCrystal.

Fellow Briton Lora Fachie and pilot Corrine Hall recovered from an early mechanical issue to finish fifth, while George Peasgood was sixth in the C4-5 road race, miming breaststroke as he crossed the line in reference to the rainy conditions.

At Tokyo Aquatics Centre, world record holder Stephen Clegg had to settle for silver in the 100m butterfly S12.

The 25-year-old, who had already won a pair of bronzes during the past 10 days, entered the pool as favourite but was pipped to top spot on the podium by 0.07secs, finishing in a time of 57.87 behind Azerbaijan’s Raman Salei.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, I came here to win and it is quite far short of where I wanted to be,” said the 25-year-old.

Britain’s men’s basketball team will battle Spain on Sunday to salvage bronze after their hopes of being crowned champions were extinguished by a 79-68 loss to hosts Japan.

GB top-scorer Gaz Choudhry, who registered 26 points, said: “Disappointed isn’t a big enough word. We’re absolutely devastated.

“We absolutely believed we could do it today. All credit to Japan, they beat us today, we didn’t lose that game.”

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