GB Taekwondo On Korea Path To Rio 2016
World Championship medallists, Damon Sansum and Rachelle Booth, are included in a strong GB Taekwondo squad for the Chuncheon Open starting in South Korea tomorrow. (Wednesday)
So too is the team’s newest medallist, Christian McNeish, recently adding a World University Games medal to last year’s Youth Olympics bronze,
And this week’s action is the start of “a busy and exciting five months” for the sport says Performance Director, Gary Hall, speaking from the Manchester trained squad’s training base at the Korean National Sports University.
“The Grand Prix season is almost up on us as are our annual athlete performance reviews,” explains Hall.
“We have our National Championships in September, a World Grand Prix in Manchester in October and our new National Centre in Manchester will be completed this November.
“It is a busy five months ahead but it will be an exciting five months. We have plenty of work to do and we are looking forward to it.”
The squad is in familiar territory at the Korean National Sports University. “KNSU is a world class elite sport preparation camp for the GB Team,” confirms Hall.
“It is a partnership which has benefited the Great Britain’s team progress in the past and will also do in the future as we prepare for Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.”
A total of 15 British athletes are competing at the annual Chuncheon Open starting with Max Cater (-54kg) and Levi Goodridge (-87kg) tomorrow. (Wednesday)
Teenager McNeish was the only GB winner at the University Games and Hall was delighted for the 18-year-old Londoner. “Christian only returned to full training a couple of weeks before this event after a very difficult back injury,” he explained.
“His performances showed real quality and prospect for the coming months.” World champion Bianca Walkden missed out on another podium placing and isn’t on duty this week as she prepares for the Grand Prix series, including next month’s trip to Russia.
“Bianca took on the World Uni games following a well-earned mini break,” said Hall. “The team believed the event was a good chance to pick up some ranking points.
“But it proved a more difficult event than expected. However, she will utilise the matches she had to start her preparations for the GP series.”
In contrast, Beijing Olympian and 2011 World silver medallist, Michael Harvey, has endured a lean 2015. But he’s been handed a Korea opportunity and joins McNeish, Anthony Stephenson and Ben Haines at -68kg.
“Mike has had mixed results and performances,” agrees Hall. “But he remains committed and hard working to get back to winning ways.
“Korea will be a tough test for all the squad but the performance lessons we learn here will help us in the important months ahead.”
-54kg: Max Cater (Southampton)
-87kg: Levi Goodridge (Farnborough)
+87kg: Lyle Walker (Law)
-80kg: Damon Sansum (Elgin), Tom Smith (Poplar)
-74kg: Andrew Deer (Tamworth)
-68kg: Jordan Gayle (Manchester), Ben Haines (Portsmouth), Michael Harvey (Manchester), Christian McNeish (Plaistow), Anthony Stephenson (Bury).
+73kg: Jade Slavin (Consett)
-49kg: Charlie Maddock (Stoke on Trent)
-62kg: Rachelle Booth (Wigan)
-53kg: Georgia Barnes (Southampton)