Soon Manchester will be welcoming 250 of the world’s greatest Taekwondo athletes for the latest World Grand Prix series taking place this October.
A strong squad of 14 has been selected, including London 2012 bronze medallist Lutalo Muhammad and Olympic champion Jade Jones, who is long overdue a gold in this event.
Muhammad and Cho intend to replicate the success achieved last year when they fought with a home advantage. With the event being held in Manchester, it allows the squad members to bring additional support in the form of family and friends. They’ll be no lack of motivation from the GB team!
“All the key players are in great shape,” says Hall of a selection including six Grand Prix debutants, four of them females. “You can never guarantee it will be the same as last year but what you can do is prepare as well as last time, if not better. That’s what we have done.
“The key weights for us are really strong and I am looking forward to the challenge ahead.” With three fighters in the -80kg, including Muhammad, plus Aaron Cook, representing the Isle of Man, this particular weight division should prove one of the main attractions for spectators.
Newcomers to the squad include Scotland’s 2014 European bronze medallist Asia Bailey, Jade Slavin of Sunderland, Wigan’s Rachelle Booth, Scot Lyle Walker, Croydon’s Feyi Pearce and finally Yorkshire hope Stella Whitehead. The first timers will be even more determined to cement their status within the Taekwondo world, so looks like we’re in for an un-missable event!
Unfortunately even the best athletes fall foul of bad luck. European senior gold medallist Bianca Walken will not be participating due to a knee surgery earlier this year despite recently returning to full training.
“It’s been a great year for Bianca with a European title and a place in the world’s top 10. But it’s not been a great ending because of her knee. However, she has made brilliant progress and her preparations are now all about doing the best she can next year which is World Championship year.”
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