No ‘Ho Ho Ho’ For Cho After Given One Last Shot At Rio
Mahama Cho has been handed a chance to ensure Great Britain take four taekwondo athletes to compete at next summer’s Rio Olympics.
And Cho has cancelled his holiday festivities to give himself the best chance to make his Games debut in 2016.
London 2012 golden girl Jade Jones, reigning world heavyweight champion, Bianca Walkden and Lutalo Muhammad, a winner of the overall WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix series in Mexico earlier this month, have already qualified spots in the -57kg, +67kg and -80kg weight divisions.
Now, the London raised fighter, World Grand Prix champion in 2013, bids to do the same after GB Taekwondo selectors decided Cho’s weight division (+80kg) represented the best opportunity to add another player to the final Team GB squad.
And the 26-year-old, 2015 US Open silver medallist will be number one seed for the European Olympic qualification tournament in Istanbul on January 16-17.
“I am overwhelmed to be given an opportunity to go to qualifiers after the year I have had,” said Cho, a World Grand Prix bronze medallist in Moscow last August.
“I know it wasn’t an easy decision for the staff members because we have fantastic players. Anyone could have been chosen from any category to go and represent our country.
“So, Christmas and New Year will be on hold for me because I will be in training day in, day out.
“I can’t think because it is an Olympic qualifier it is going to be the biggest tournament. I will prepare normally and make sure when I get out there, my mind is on the game and do what needs to be done.
“Hopefully by the time Istanbul comes round, we should be ready to rock and roll. I am going out there to do a job and that is to qualify a spot. So, it doesn’t matter how many fights I am going to be doing. Whether it’s three, four or more I am going to make sure my mind is on the job and do the best I can to qualify the spot.”
GB Performance Director Gary Hall said:”Cho has had an up and down year but when he’s been up, he’s beaten some of the best players in the world.
“It was a tough call because -68kg was also an option. But Cho has got himself to ninth in the world and will be number one seed in Istanbul.
“At this stage we don’t know how many fights he will have but he will have to make the final to qualify the place.”