Bianca Walkden hopes her gold medal-winning performance will inspire Liverpool to Champions League glory after the British taekwondo star clinched a fourth European title.
The 30-year-old Liverpudlian defended her crown in style with an emphatic performance against Aleksandra Kowalczuk in the final of the European Championships in Manchester.
Walkden never looked in trouble as she prevailed 14-3 against her Polish opponent to retain her +73kg title, having also topped the European podium in 2014 and 2016 as well.
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And while Walkden already has her sights set on the next Olympics after her bronze medals at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, she also challenged Liverpool FC to match her when they face Real Madrid in the Champions League final next week.
"Yesterday you had Omar Salim win 54kg and he said it's harder to keep winning again and keep winning again and he's 100% right on that," said three-time world champion Walkden.
"I'm back again and it's really hard to win four [European titles] but hopefully I can keep going, I can keep doing it until we get to Paris [Olympics] and then we can finish it all off.
"One thing keeping me going today was that Liverpool have the Champions League final next week so I thought I'd start it off and show them the spirit, show them how it's done.
"Hopefully they can come away European champions as well."
Walkden also defeated Kowalczuk to secure bronze at the Tokyo Olympics last year, having suffered final-second agony against South Korea's Dabin Lee in her semi-final.
She had a bye in the first round in Manchester before dispatching Serbian Ana Tepavac with ease in the quarter-finals, winning 11-2 to set up a last four encounter.
A winning kick from Walkden then proved enough to see off France's Solene Avoulette 16-9 in the semi-finals before she claimed a historic fourth European title in the gold-medal final.
And while Walkden admitted she was initially nervous about fighting in front of a crowd again, she soon relished having the home support backing her for the first time since the pandemic.
"It was actually a bit more nerve-wracking [without crowds] as we're used to the crowds, we're used to the people cheering and they are so load it really does lift you," she said.
"But the first fight I was so nervous, so anxious about everyone being there, it felt quite overwhelming but it was nice in the end with everyone cheering with the flags."
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