WORLD CHAMPION WALKDEN SITS GERMAN TEST LOOKING FOR NEW YEAR HONOURS
Bianca Walkden puts her German Open title on the line in Hamburg his weekend as GB Taekwondo stars compete for the first time in 2017.
The world champion and Rio 2016 bronze medallist returns to the mat less than a week after returning from a belated holiday.
And Walkden, part of a 10-strong squad, admits she’s not putting too much pressure on herself to deliver the goods.
“You can’t over think the outcome otherwise you will start panicking and defeat yourself before you get in the ring,” says the 25-year-old Liverpudlian heavyweight.
“I know it is quick getting back into the ring. And I am probably not in peak shape.
“But I think it is a good idea just to go out there and try something new mentally and see how far it can get me. I will try to be relaxed and chilled and not think about winning or losing.”
Walkden, a German Open youth winner in 2007 and senior bronze medallist in 2013, does have loftier ambitions this year.
“My actual goal is to become the first Briton to retain the World Championship,” she said. “But the World Grand Prix in London is another important target.”
Six of the Manchester trained squad are females including Charlie Maddock, another reigning German Open champion and winner of last month’s World Grand Prix final with victory over Olympic gold medallist, Sohui Kim.
In the absence of Britain’s double Olympic champion, Jade Jones, Welsh hopes rest with Gwent teenager, Lauren Williams, the reigning European and Junior World champion. Fellow youngster, Rebecca McGowan, the 2016 Junior World bronze medallist, has earned her senior chance to impress at -73kg alongside Jade Slavin.
But the boys’ team also packs a punch. Peter Radford, Bradly Sinden, Max Cater and Christian McNeish were all medal winners at the French Open in Paris before Christmas with Radford defeating teammate, Sinden, in the final of the -68kg competition.
Saturday, January 21
-58kg: Max Cater (Southampton)
-68kg: Peter Radford (Rye), -68kg: Bradly Sinden (Doncaster).
-62kg: Rachelle Booth (Wigan)
-67kg: Lauren Williams (Newport, Gwent)
Sunday, January 22
-74kg: Christian McNeish (Plaistow)
-53kg: Charlie Maddock (Stoke)
-73kg: Rebecca McGowan (Dumbarton), Jade Slavin (Consett)
+73kg: Bianca Walkden (Liverpool)