Daniel Souza won the under-49 kg gold at the 2022 World Taekwondo Championships ©Getty Images

At 23, Daniela Souza is one of the rising stars of Mexican taekwondo, who is aiming for glory at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Last month, she secured the greatest triumph of her career so far as she won the women's flyweight (under-49 kilograms) category title at the 2022 World Taekwondo Championships in Guadalajara.

Souza's performance delighted the home crowd at the Centro Acuático CODE Metropolitano, as she became one of the three home athletes to take global gold.

Her route to the top was long and arduous, however.

After a straightforward win over Hong Kong's Lam Siu Wai in the round-of-32, Souza had a tough match against Australia's Saffron Tambyrajah, progressing thanks to a one-point margin.

Her quarter-final win over Israel's Avishag Semberg required all three rounds, earning her the dubious privilege of meeting Panipak Wongpattanakit, Thailand's world number one, defending and Olympic champion, for a place in the final.

Daniela Souza beat China's Guo Qing for the world title last year ©Getty Images
Daniela Souza beat China's Guo Qing for the world title last year ©Getty Images

But with the home crowd's help, the Mexican fighter prevailed over three rounds, winning the last 5-4.

Her opponent in the final, China's Guo Qing, responded to losing the first round 4-3 by winning the second 8-4, but Souza prevailed thanks to an 8-2 scoreline in the final round.

Souza, who was born in Zapopan but considers Tijuana her home, first made her mark internationally in 2016, when she won bronze at the World Taekwondo Junior Championships.

She added golds at the 2018 Barranquilla Central American and Caribbean Games, and, a year later, at the Pan American Games in Lima.

Also in 2019, she participated in the World Taekwondo Championships at Manchester, reaching the flyweight quarter-finals, beating Semberg en route before losing to China's double Olympic champion Wu Jingyu.