Lauren Price’s Olympic journey started 11 long days ago in the quiet preliminary rounds of this gripping middleweight competition. Amid all of the inevitable pressure, nerves and excitement, she both navigated unanimous victories and was forced to draw on everything in order to maintain her spot in her competition alike.
As she stood one win away from her clearly stated goal, she did not blink. After arriving in Tokyo as the first Welsh female boxer to even qualify for the Olympic Games, she will walk away as the Olympic champion, a sterling gold medal secured by a supreme, dominant unanimous victory against Li Qian of China.
One round after she narrowly survived her old rival Nouchka Fontijc, Price, the reigning world champion, stood against Li who won the title a year earlier in 2018.
Both women started the bout off conservatively, but as usual Price used her speed and agility against a taller opponent to devastating effect, smartly choosing her moments to burst into Li’s face and land a quick combination of blows. Li, meanwhile, so often seemed to swing into empty air. All five judges awarded Price the first round.
With a round in the bag, Price visibly relaxed and from there it was not even close. Her selection of well-timed raids yielded the second round with four of the five judges electing her the winner. The gold medal in sight, only a catastrophe could have denied Price her gold medal.
It did not come. Price closed out her gold medal with such impressive poise, smoothly managing the opening minutes before closing off with a flourish – two big right-handed blows with 60 and then 40 seconds to go. As the bell rang out at the end of the bout, she finished by pumping her fist to the skies in full confidence of her victory.
Price’s gold medal marks Great Britain’s 65th and final medal of the Games, equalling the number of medals won at London 2012 and meaning GB have enjoyed their second most successful overseas games behind Rio 2016.
Earlier in the day, Ireland’s Kellie Anne Harrington recovered after being narrowly eked out in the first round of her final against Beatriz Ferreira of Brazil to convincingly win the lightweight fold medal by unanimous decision.
Harrington follows in the footsteps of Katie Taylor as the third Irish boxer to win the Olympic gold medal and the second female.