Bianca Walkden admits she's in a dreamland as she prepares to add to Great Britain's medal tally at the European Games.
Walkden is still buzzing from her gold medal success at the recent taekwondo World Championships and is looking to follow Team GB's Charlie Maddock and Jade Jones onto the top step on the podium in Baku.
The 23-year old, who competes in the +67kg category, is already the reigning European champion but has been carrying a knee injury since her win.
"Sometimes I forget that I’m world champion actually, it’s all a bit of a dream still to be honest," she said.
"It’s been great to do all the added stuff off the back of the worlds. I’m the type of girl who likes that sort of thing, getting all smart and getting your hair done for the cameras. It makes a change from our usual attire for fights where it’s all the same and you can’t really show off your style at all.
"My knee is a little bit sore at the moment. I’ve been back doing my rehab and I’m still not 100 per cent.
"I went in to the World Championships wanting gold, despite knowing I had a bad leg. The fact that I pulled it off was great.
"I’d say I was only fighting at 50 per cent so I know when I’m fully fit I can get even better and that’s exciting going forward. It gives me a lot of confidence and hopefully it’s all building towards next year."
More immediately Walkden is looking forward to a well-earned holiday cruise around the Mediterranean when she returns from Baku but admits there is added pressure to deliver in Azerbaijan, after Team GB's earlier successes.
And all important ranking points are also available on the road to Rio.
"It’s really exciting, it's certainly bigger than I imagined," she added.
"I think it’s an important competition, it’s a great chance to make history with the team.
"My World Championships win got me 120 world ranking points which was great. It moved me comfortably into the top six and I hope I can stay there. Rio qualification is always there at the back of your mind when you go to fight but I try and not let it get on top of me too much.
"You have to think about the competition in front of you and doing my best otherwise I could end up taking my eye off the ball."
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