All roads lead to Rome for Grand Prix bound world champions Sinden and Walkden
6th June 2019
Bradly Sinden and Bianca Walkden return to action for the first time since winning their world titles in Manchester as GB Taekwondo athletes compete at two international competitions this weekend.
Three weeks after claiming two of Britain’s three gold medals at the Manchester Arena, Yorkshire star Sinden and Liverpudlian heavyweight Walkden are two of nine fighters tackling the World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Rome.
But the Manchester trained squad is packed with big hitters for their three-day Italian job.
London and Rio Olympic medallist, Lutalo Muhammad, is anxious for competition after missing a home world championship as he recovered from injury.
Lauren Williams, the World Grand Slam champion, is also in action after her early exit from the Manchester event.
However, all eyes will be on world wonders Sinden and Walkden; Doncaster born Sinden becoming Britain’s first ever able-bodied male world champion and Walkden taking her third championship in one of taekwondo’s most talked about finals of recent times.
Sinden, 20, is joined at his world winning weight of -68kg by reigning European gold medallist, Christian McNeish.
Despite his newly acquired global status, Sinden is adopting the same laid-back attitude he did during his run to the world title.
“I think it has finally sunk in now,” he said. “It’s an amazing achievement and a dream come true.
“But it is not the end of the journey. I was straight back into training, focusing for the Grand Prix ready to give it my all.”
Unbeaten in four competitions during 2019, Sinden was a Rome bronze medallist 12 months ago losing to Russian Alexey Denisenko.
“It’s an incredible venue and the atmosphere was electric last year,” he said.
“Winning against the world hasn’t made me more confident. I just know I want no regrets after the competition so give it everything I have got every single time.”
Damon Sansum fights again at -80kg while Muhammad joins Mahama Cho in the +80kg weight division.
Walkden has world quarter-finalist, Rebecca McGowan, for company at +67kg while the women’s team is completed by Jordyn Smith’s selection at -49kg.
Two of the youngest members of GB Taekwondo’s world squad, Mason Yarrow and Hassan Haider are also in action again fighting alongside Jonathan Bangura, Jack Spall, Brandon Jewell, Maddison Moore and Emelye O’Brien at the Austrian Open.
*Catch the World Taekwondo Grand Prix Rome live here.
Grand Prix squad:
-68kg: Christian McNeish (Plaistow), Bradly Sinden (Doncaster)
-80kg: Damon Sansum (Elgin)
+80kg: Mahama Cho (Stockwell), Lutalo Muhammad (Walthamstow)
-49kg: Jordyn Smith (Falkirk)
-67kg: Lauren Williams (Blackwood)
+67kg: Rebecca McGowan (Dumbarton); Bianca Walkden (Liverpool)
Austrian Open squad:
-58kg: Mason Yarrow (Doncaster); Hassan Haider (Falkirk)
-87kg: Brandon Jewell (Southampton)
+87kg: Jonathan Bangura (Newham), Jack Spall (Attleborough)
-49kg: Maddison Moore (Blakedown)
-57kg: Emelye O’Brien (Bradford)