World Champion Walkden Polishes Off Another Title
Brilliant Bianca Walkden took another step closer to Rio 2016 qualification with victory at the Polish Open in Warsaw.
One of four Great Britain medallists at the two-day event, Walkden included the scalp of the current Olympic champion on her way to success in the +73 kg division.
And the 23-year-old world title holder proved a quick learner, bouncing back from the disappointment of golden point defeat the World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Russia to reach her latest final by sudden death.
Fellow heavyweight, Mahama Cho, also continued his late season charge for a place at next summer’s Olympics with a welcome silver medal.
Teenager Max Cater again showed his potential by finishing runner-up at -54kg while European Games champion, Charlie Maddock, claimed bronze at -49kg.
But Liverpudlian Walkden stole the show as she cemented a top six Olympic ranking for Great Britain at +73kg. Arguably the highlight was her semi-final, golden point win against Serbia’s London 2012 champion, Milica Mandic.
Walkden, who celebrates her 24th birthday next month, (September) followed up with a 3-1 final win over South Korea’s three-time World Championship silver medallist, In-jong Lee.
In total, Walkden won four fights to claim her seventh medal of 2015 and 40 invaluable ranking points.
Londoner Cho is fast emerging from a lean six months period, adding silver to his recent WTF WGP bronze.
The ‘Stockwell Slayer’ knocked out Russian, Oleg Kuznetsov, in the last four before narrowly going down on points to 2014 European Championship silver medallist, Vedran Golec. Croatian Golec accounted for Cho’s team mate, Lyle Walker, in the quarter-finals.
Commonwealth champion Cater, 18 on September 18, collected his fifth medal of the year, just losing out on gold to fellow teenager Jesus Tortosa Cabrera, Spain’s European Games silver medallist.
Maddock from Stoke on Trent, one of two Brits competing at the Israel Open on Sunday, reached her latest semi-final before suffering a close defeat to Germany’s Alexandra Lychagina.
*The second leg of the WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix circuit takes the planet’s best to Samsun in Turkey from September 18-20 before Manchester hosts event three at the Regional Arena, Sportcity from October 16-18.
To catch Olympic champion Jade Jones, Cho, Walkden and Co fighting on home territory for the last time before next year’s Olympics, take in the action at Manchester’s edition of the World Taekwondo Grand Prix this October. Tickets are now on sale at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/wtgp