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2nd September 2013

CHO SO HAPPY TO BE BACK IN GB CAMP

Prodigal son Mahama Cho has returned to the GB Academy thanks to a helping hand from dad.

The 24-year-old heavyweight resumes training this month in Manchester after more than two years away.

A winner this year of the Dutch and German Opens, Cho, who has been living and training in France, can't wait to make up for lost time.

"Every tournament I entered Gary Hall (GB Performance Director) always told me the door was open if I wanted to comeback," he explained.

"The hardest thing for me was missing out on the European and World Championships.

"My dad, Zakaia, knew how frustrated I was and he went to see Gary. Normally, you think your dad would tell you he was involved in such a big thing.

"But I didn't know anything about it until he told me afterwards. However, he always has my best interests at heart and is someone I respect and treasure.

"He always wanted me to come home because he has a passion for this country," explained London raised Cho, a promising semi-professional footballer at Erith Town before kicking the game into touch for taekwondo.

Cho admits it wasn't easy to leave the National set-up in the first place but is delighted to be given a second chance.

"The pain I have endured missing out on the big competitions is what has motivated me to comeback," he added.

Seeing friend and fellow taekwondo star, Antonio Obame, win London 2012 Olympic silver and 2013 World gold for Gabon, was another motivating factor.

"I helped him get ready for those two competitions," Cho explained. "So, if I can help someone else to achieve what I want to achieve, I can't see why I can't do it myself.

"The only sensible thing was to come back and fight for my country again."

Cho has already targeted the inaugural World Grand Prix in Manchester (December 13-15). "It is the next big thing for the team so I don't want to miss that.

"This will be an opportunity to put myself back on the map. But the coaches will have a clear structure of what they want me to do as they have the best systems and best planning procedures anywhere."

Cho was a popular member of the GB Academy in Newton Heath and news of his return has already reached his former team mates.

"I have had a couple of messages and some Face time with the likes of Jade (Jones), Steph (Allen) and Bianca (Walkden).

"They are really happy I am coming back. They can't wait to see me and I can't wait to see them."

GB boss Hall says:"It is good to welcome back Cho to the GB World Class Performance Programme having worked with him previously for three years at the GB Academy.

“Cho is a world class heavyweight who has continued to improve and mature as a player and I look forward to seeing him progress towards major medal success for Great Britain.”

Cho's last competitive appearance at a major tournament for Great Britain was at the 2011 World Championships in South Korea.

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