Lisa Gjessing, a four-time world champion from Denmark, prevailed over British rookie Beth Munro in a fiercely contested women’s K44 -58kg final at the Makuhari Messe Hall by drawing on all of her experience and maturity.
Having just been found by Great Britain scouts during lockdown last year, 28-year-old former England netball team player Munro was the buzz of the mixed zone and press tribunes when members of the media learned of her rapid climb.
A. Munro Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
A veteran of thousands of bouts, Gjessing competed for Denmark at the 2001 and 2003 World Championships in able-bodied taekwondo before switching to para taekwondo in 2012.
After being diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, a kind of bone cancer, in 2012, the three-time European champion underwent a number of therapies, culminating in the amputation of her left arm below the elbow.
The seasoned Dane proved to be too shrewd and experienced for her British opponent, cruising to a 32-14 victory. The tone of the fight was set in the opening round, when the Dane jumped out to a commanding 10-0 lead (12-4).
To win my country’s third Paralympic gold at Tokyo 2020 is beyond anything I can put into words, said Gjessing, who did just that.
Yesterday and this morning, I’ve been in a really chill mood. This was a pleasant experience for me. Life moves quickly, I learned the hard way. And I knew this moment would be the end.
I didn’t feel anxious. I had planned to have the party here. Having a great time with the whole crew.
Fast-rising Munro, who started training in taekwondo for the first time in December 2019 and was slated for a spot at Paris 2024, surpassed all expectations by winning the first Paralympic taekwondo medal for Britain.
I am a little dissatisfied with the result,” Munro said.
Disability Sport Wales told me they could transform me into a Paralympian,” the Cardiff boxer, who was born with a disability to her left arm, said.
Originally from Wales (her mother’s homeland), Munro wanted to become a javelin thrower there until being discovered by British scouts during the country’s lockdown last year.
The promising rookie had no idea there was a Paralympic taekwondo team until she caught the eye of the British team. Since then, she has trained alongside Olympic taekwondo stars like two-time Olympic champion Jade Jones and Tokyo 2020 bronze medalist Bianca Walkden at the Centre of Excellence in Manchester.
That first round got away from me, I’m sure of it. My goal for the rest of the trip was to make up lost time.
“Today’s silver medal makes me very happy. The short road I’ve travelled to become a Paralympic silver medalist has been worthwhile.
Like I said, I’m a little bummed out, but I’m still leaving here today in a good mood.
Maybe I just haven’t given it much thought till now. This has been one incredibly hectic trip. Up and away to Paris! (for the 2024 Paralympic Games). The next time I do this, I’m going to totally destroy it.
On Saturday night, the first-ever Paralympic taekwondo competition will come to a close in Chiba, Japan.