The year may be almost up but the unstoppable Bianca Walkden was in no mood to bid farewell to a golden 2017 quietly, securing victory at the inaugural Grand Slam Series in China.
It had already been 12 months to savour for the Liverpudlian taekwondo fighter prior to Saturday’s outing, as she successfully defended her world crown and became the first athlete ever to win all four taekwondo Grand Prix events in a calendar year.
That earned Walkden a nomination for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Award earlier this month – the first taekwondo fighter to do so.
And the New Year celebrations will now taste even sweeter with ‘Queen Bee’ defeating American Jackie Galloway in the women’s +67kg final at the World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series, held in the city of Wuxi, near Shanghai – earning a record win bonus of £52,000 in the process.
“I can buy a house now,” said the 26-year-old afterwards.
The competition, held over four successive weekends, is an invitation event featuring the world’s most decorated and popular fighters and includes new rules rewarding athletes for extra spins and knockdowns.
Walkden was in control of her final against her American opponent from the off, with a sniper-like side kick earning her eight points.
She raced into a 9-1 lead and then fended off any late attacks from Galloway to consolidate her position and win 10-2.
That was then the cue for the party to start as Walkden made sure to celebrate on stage and with the crowd, ending matters with a series of somersaults.
The second edition of the Grand Slam series takes place next Saturday with the men’s -68kg and women’s -67kg categories – including Britain’s Lauren Williams – being contested.