by Olly Allen
There were many feel-good stories at the London Olympics in 2012, but few could top that of Nicola Adams, who claimed the first ever women’s gold medal in boxing in front of a home crowd at the ExCel Arena.
It was a real breakthrough moment in the sport, as Adams inspired many other female boxers to believe that anything was possible.
Caerphilly-born Lauren Price was just 18 at the time, and is now hoping to follow in her footsteps at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
“Nicola is absolutely massive for all of us,” Price said in 2018. “She is the person who showed us all it’s possible.”
However, boxing has not always been Price’s destiny. As a kickboxer, she won a silver medal at the World Championships when she was just 13 and competing against opponents twice her age. Price went on to become a four-time world champion and six-time European champion in the sport and also trained with the British taekwondo squad.
Meanwhile, she has been capped a remarkable 52 times by the Wales national football team, having been part of the Cardiff City side that won the inaugural Welsh Premier Women’s Football League title in 2013.
But in 2014, she made the difficult decision to hang up her boots to concentrate on boxing. It was a choice that has massively paid off.
Later that year, she became the first Welsh woman to claim a boxing medal at the Commonwealth Games with a bronze in Glasgow. The last two years have seen her become one of the best amateur female middleweight boxers, with three gold medals in the space of 19 months.
First, Price won the 2018 Commonwealth title after beating Australian Caitlin Parker via split decision. Glory at the European Championships followed in June 2019 before her greatest achievement to date – gold at the World Championships in Russia. The 25-year-old initially lost the final to the Netherlands’ Nouchka Fontijn on a split decision, but the result was overturned by appeal.
It meant Price remained unbeaten in the whole of 2019 and finished the year as the number one ranked female middleweight in the world. Unsurprisingly, she is now one of the favourites to top the podium in Tokyo.
Speaking to Sky Sports News in November, Price said: “From the age of eight, my dream has always been to go to the Olympic Games. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Even when I was in school, I used to say ‘it doesn’t matter, I’m going to become an athlete or go to the Olympics’.”
Price will have a chance to achieve this dream on Friday, when she is in action in qualifying for the GB team at the Copper Box Arena in London. Wales is expectant, but should Price succeed, she will become the country’s first female Olympic boxing representative.
She is not alone in her pursuit of Welsh history, with compatriot Rosie Eccles, who won silver at the Commonwealth Games two years ago, also hoping to make the squad this week.