Lauren Price becomes the first Welsh athlete to win an Olympic boxing gold medal

  • Watch ITV Cymru Wales' video report by Alexandra Hartley

Lauren Price from Ystrad Mynach has won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The 27-year-old beat China's Li Qian in the women's middleweight boxing final on Sunday to become the first Welsh fighter to win an Olympic boxing gold medal.

Price gained a 5-0 points victory at the Kokugikan Arena, securing Team GB's 22nd and final gold medal of Tokyo 2020.

She came into her debut Olympics as the number one seed having won gold at the 2019 World Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Price also became the first ever Welsh woman to win a Commonwealth medal in boxing at the 2014 Glasgow Games and went on to be the first ever Welsh woman to win a Commonwealth gold medal at the 2018 Gold Coast Games.

Speaking after the fight, she said: "I can't really put this into words - it's a dream come true.

"I still can't believe it, I've got to pinch myself but it just goes to show, if you dream and work hard enough, you can achieve anything.

"I'm over the moon, a huge thank you to everyone who supported me on this journey, from starting off at eight years of age, to everyone back at home who has shown me so much support. It means the world and it's got me through."

Lauren also wanted to thank her grandparents.

After receiving the medal, she looked skywards in remembrance of her grandfather Derek, who alongside her grandmother, Linda took her in at three days old, raising her and helping realise her sporting ambitions.

Credit: PA

She added: "A big shout out to my nan, I can't wait to see her. My granddad passed away last year. This is for him, and my nan, I know he was looking down on me today and all week, I can't put into words what they've done for me over the years.

"I love them both so much, I can't wait to see my nan, and everyone, to show this medal off."

Price has been in regular contact with her grandmother throughout the Olympics and revealed she was given a special message on the eve of her bout against Li.

"I spoke to her on FaceTime and then when I woke up in the morning, I had another message," she said.

"She always says to me, reach for the moon, if I fall short I land on the stars. That's always in the message, and it was just how far I've come, the journey I've been on and how proud she is of me. It was inspirational."

In Ystrad Mynach, her aunt Alison Morrison described her niece as an "inspiration."

She said: "Lauren goes to show that if you dream it and believe it, you can achieve it.

"She's proved that it can be done with dedication and hard work and she just deserves it.

"I can't praise her enough."

It's also been an emotional day for Chris Type, the Performance Director for Welsh Boxing.

Chris Type, Welsh Boxing

He said: "The emotion for everybody who has been involved in this is very difficult to explain. You build such a close connection with the athlete and you live the journey with them. It's been a very emotional morning for a lot of people.

"Lauren's had this ambition for a long, long time. She's been chasing the dream since she was eight years old.

"This next twenty-four-hours for her is going to be a whirlwind. She's going to spend a lot of time doing media work and I think she's just going to want to come home to Ystrad Mynach and sit down and have a cuppa with her gran and take stock of the situation.

"Then everything will start to sink in of what she's actually achieved - it's truly phenomenal."

Chris is hoping that Lauren's success will inspire other young athletes to take up the sport.

He added: "The magnitude of what she's achieved and the doors she's opened for young athletes to come into the organisation, to be part of the future of what we want Welsh boxing to be - it's very difficult to measure the impact right now but we will see young female athletes coming through the door in great numbers as a result of this.

"That will be down to the hard work of Lauren and others who have supported her through this really momentous time."

Looking back at the final fight, Lauren was "really pleased" with her performance.

"Going into this, obviously I was the favourite, being world champion and all that, but in the Olympic Games anything can happen on the day," she said.

"I knew I was up against a very good girl, a previous world champion, but I knew that if I was on my A-game then I'd be alright.

"You know what nerves are like, especially going into the Olympic final, but I thought I was cool, calm and collected and I was really pleased with my performance as well."

As for what's next, she said: "I'm just going to go back, have some time off and relax, go on holiday. It's only three years until the Paris Olympics so I may as well tick one of them boxes and do it again."

She also has more than 50 caps for Wales' football team and is a former world kickboxing champion, but she decided ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games that boxing was where her heart lay.

But as for whether she will take up another sport, she added: "I'm pretty good at this one so I think I'll stick to this one." 

Team GB leave Tokyo with 22 golds, 21 silvers and 22 bronzes, and 65 medals in total to match the tally from London 2012. It is also the second most successful overseas Games, behind Rio 2016.