PARIS, France (Sep 4, 2022) - Ruth Gbagbi yesterday added a fourth World Taekwondo Grand Prix gold to her name in Paris. It is an incredible feat, and Ruth prides herself on her ability to train hard and adapt to stay at the top of her game.
“I feel happy that I won yesterday. It was a dream come true to win another Grand Prix gold medal.”
With 10 years of senior Taekwondo competition under her belt, Gbagbi was a sure-fire favourite to take the title. But her opponent, Korea’s up-and-coming star Min-Seo Nam, was not going to make things easy.
“I think all the athletes in the Grand Prix have the ability to reach the final. I think Nam’s very smart. I think she can reach more Grand Prix finals and she has a bright future in Taekwondo.”
Of course, this is not Ruth’s first time fighting new-comers on the circuit. But she enjoys the challenge and the need to constantly adapt and improve to stay at the top.
“I think the Taekwondo fight has changed a lot in the last ten years. But I like this because in life all things change. So I need to adapt if I want to keep fighting.
“The level of all the athletes keeps going up and the young athletes are very fierce.”
Taekwondo is second only to football when it comes to popularity in Côte d'Ivoire thanks to the incredible success of Ruth and her compatriots in the sport.
But this wasn’t always the case. So why did Ruth start practising Taekwondo at the age of eight?
“When I was young, I liked to fight in the streets. So my mum told me to try Taekwondo and now I’m a World Champion. She’s very proud of me.”
With so many young aspiring Taekwondo athletes that want to follow in Ruth’s footsteps, what would be her advice on becoming a Taekwondo champion?
“You need to be respectful and have the fighting spirit.”
Ruth is already a Taekwondo superstar and national Côte d'Ivoire superhero, but there is one medal that has eluded her - Olympic gold. Not satisfied with her two bronze medals from Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, Ruth has Paris 2024 in her sights.
“I hope. I will give my all to go to Paris 2024 and win gold.”