Olympic fight-off ‘never on my agenda’, says McGowan

by Admin
Rebecca McGowan

Rebecca McGowan will make her Olympic debut in Paris [Getty Images]

Rebecca McGowan says “I deserve my spot” in Team GB’s taekwondo Olympic squad, insisting a fight-off with Bianca Cook was “never on my agenda”.

McGowan, 24, has been selected to compete in the +67kg category in Paris.

The Scot, a two-time World Championships medallist , was ranked higher than Cook at the end of the Olympic qualification period in December.

Triple world champion Cook, who has two Olympic bronze medals, is fit again after missing several events through injury and felt she deserved a contest with McGowan to determine who went to the Games.

“A fight-off was never on my agenda,” McGowan told BBC Scotland.

“I did everything to merit this position. I deserve my spot and that is all I think.

“In the past 18 months I have worked tirelessly to put myself in the best position that I could be in and to finish the highest ranked GB athlete in the +67kg category.

“I put my faith in myself and in fighting in the ring and doing what I know best and it worked.

“I have got no bad blood in the situation. I wish her well in everything she does. To be honest, right now my main focus is on my Olympics and being in the best position for that.”

McGowan going for gold in Paris

McGowan, who also has a European gold medal, is relishing the prospect of an Olympic debut, having been in Tokyo last time as understudy to Cook.

“I always had a burning desire to go but it lit the flame, added so much petrol to the fire,” she said of her 2021 experience.

“I had done the whole camp. Being the understudy, you have to be in a position where you could step in if need be and be in a place where you could win.

“It was amazing, but I said ‘the next one, it is going to be mine’.”

And the Dumbarton fighter insists “there is no doubt in my mind” she can top the podium in Paris.

“Since my first taekwondo session at five or six years old, my dad was wanting to put a bet on me to win an Olympic gold medal. He didn’t put it on, he was going to.

“I don’t think I realised that it was an Olympic sport until seeing Sarah Stevenson in Beijing (2008). Then watching Milica Mandic win in London (2012) was the point where I was like ‘that is what I want to do, I want to be the heavyweight Olympic champion’.”

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