Unlucky Lutalo Misses Second Turkish Title But Hall Praise For GB Squad
Lutalo Muhammad and Damon Sansum were among the medals for a third successive tournament to boost GB Taekwondo’s final tally at the Turkey Open in Antalya.
London 2012 bronze medallist Muhammad, a gold medal winner at last Tuesday’s European Clubs’ Championship, claimed silver in the -87kg division.
US Open champion Sansum finished with bronze at -80kg as the Manchester trained squad took their weekend medal haul to seven. Olympic champion Jade Jones and rapidly emerging teenager, Christian McNeish, won gold on Saturday.
Muhammad fought his way through to meet Uzbekistan’s Jasur Baykuziev in the final and was unlucky to lose 4-3 against last December’s World Grand Prix series final champion.
Sansum didn’t enjoy the best of calls from mat officials and narrowly missed another final appearance. Norway’s Richard Ordemann defeated home star, Burak Demir, to claim the title.
“We saw some outstanding performances so it was a really good weekend,” enthused Hall. “Lutalo was so close in his final against a world class fighter.
“But he has done a lot of solid work and is making progress and improving as you can see by his recent performances.” The ‘Walthamstow Warrior’ has two golds and a silver from his last three tournaments while busy Sansum has a silver and two bronzes.
Hall was also elated by Saturday’s performances of 17-year-old McNeish who overshadowed his senior GB team mates to win the -68kg title. “Christian took apart a world class field and three of his wins were by 12 point margins which just shows the type of taekwondo he is playing,” said Hall.
“It was a strong day for him while Jade is on song again with two tournament wins back to back.
“Our plan has always been to get as many ranking points as we can before the end of March and then concentrate on final preparations for the World Championships. That is the big target for us.
“Hopefully we won’t be chasing ranking points later on in the year. Most of guys should have amalgamated enough so they can then concentrate on the Grand Prix series which this year is going to be more important than ever.”