Walkden Guaranteed World Championship Medal But Colour Yet Unknown
Bianca Walkden confirmed Great Britain’s first medal of the 2015 WTF World Championships today (Friday) but still has plenty of unfinished business in Chelyabinsk.
Liverpool’s reigning European gold medallist is guaranteed +73 kg bronze after a dramatic quarter-final victory over rising Polish star, Aleksandra Kowalczuk.
Heavyweight Walkden will return to the mat tomorrow (Saturday) and fight Turkey’s Nafia Kus,20, for a place in the final. Sarah Stevenson, who recently became a mum for the first time, is currently Britain’s only ever world taekwondo champion.
But twice Walkden feared her 19-year-old rival had snatched victory, especially after a nerve-wracking 15 minute review at the end of golden point, sudden death.
Eventually, the judges found in Walkden’s favour, cancelling a winning penalty point against her and confirming she’d scored the decisive shot with two seconds remaining.
Earlier, the GB coaches successfully over turned a three point shot from Kowalczuk, a winner this year of the Greek, US and Turkish Open titles.
“It’s fantastic to have made it through but I’m only really halfway there. I still want that gold,” said Walkden. “Two more fights to go and I am not settling for bronze. The match with Aleksandra was tough and there was so much at stake.
“I really thought I’d won it and couldn’t believe it when the referee ruled against me. I’m so glad my coach (Paul Green) was so quick to appeal and it was a huge relief to get through.
Walkden, who beat Greek and Chinese Taipei opponents to reach the last eight, has twice overcome serious knee injuries to now stand only two wins from becoming world champion. “It’s nice to see all the hard work is paying off after my ACL injury nine months ago,” she added.
Despite Walkden’s joy, there was disappointment for team mates Georgia Barnes and Max Cater on their World Championship debuts. After an encouraging 14-1 first round win over Macau’s Jing Rong Lu, Southampton born Barnes went out 12-5 in round two against Finland’s Suvi Mikkonen.
Londoner born Cater, 17, was well placed to earn a third round tie after sharing the first 12 points with Brazilian Venilton Teixeira. Instead, he was caught by a succession of head shots and gained only three of the next 16 points to bow out.
*Walkden’s semi-final will be streamed live on the GB Taekwondo website: www.gbtaekwondo.co.uk from 3pm BST.
Male -54kg: Max Cater
Round One: Ming Wei Ng (SIN) Won by withdrawal
Round Two: lost to Venilton Teixeira (BRA) 9-22
Female -53kg: Georgia Barnes
Round One: Beat Jing Rong Lu (MAC) 14-1
Round Two: Lost to Suvi Mikkonen (FIN) 5-12
Female +73kg: Bianca Walkden
Round One: Beat Eleni Salinoudi (GRE) 13-7
Round Two: Beat Yi Chun Kuo (TPE) 7-2
Quarter-final: Beat Aleksandra Kowalczuk (POL) 1-1 Golden Point
Schedule (+4 hour time difference in Chelyabinsk)
May 16: +87kg Mahama Cho (Stockwell)
May 17: -63kg Jordan Gayle (Manchester)
May 18: -80kg Damon Sansum (Elgin)
May 16: -73kg Jade Slavin (Consett); +73kg Bianca Walkden (medal matches)
May 17: -57kg Jade Jones (Flint)
May 18: -62kg Rachelle Booth (Wigan)