Lutalo through to Olympic Quarter Final
Team GB’s rising taekwondo star Lutalo Muhammad has reached the Olympic quarter-final after defeating Tajikistan’s Farkhod Negmatov at the ExCeL Arena on Friday.
After two scoreless rounds and with a minute left on the clock Muhammad, from Walthamstow, stepped up his Olympic bid with a flurry of activity as two head shots and a body shot saw him race to a 7-1 win after Negmatov responded with a sole body shot.
Muhammad, who is bidding to become Team GB’s first male taekwondo medallist, will return to the court for this quarter-final contest against Spain’s European Bronze medallist and number five seed Nicolas Garcia Hemme at 3.45pm.
Muhammad said: "I am just glad to get through, it all came together in the end. The atmosphere is fantastic, and I feel a lot better now I have got my first fight out of the way.
"All the build-up did not matter, it is like any other tournament, and I feel a lot better off now I am through."
Meanwhile there was bitter disappointment for Beijing Bronze medallist Sarah Stevenson, who became the first British Taekwondo world champion in 2001, as she fell to American starlet Paige McPherson in the -67kg category.
Stevenson, 29, from Doncaster, was in a race against time to be fit for her fourth Games after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament in February, but the hugely determined fighter has overcome many hurdles to be competing in London in true testament of her character.
Team GB’s taekwondo pioneer Stevenson could still medal as she will return to action in the repechage if her conqueror McPherson advances to the final.
"I tried my best, and it has been hard,” she said. “I had to come here and go for it, I thought I could do it.
"The injury did not play a part today. It has been a mental fight every day for the last 18 months, and I did my best.
"My mum and dad would have wanted me to be here, and they would have been proud. I would have been forgiven for sitting and crying in a corner, but I am not a quitter."
copyright British Olympic Association