Caden’s cunning plans earn best ever World Grand Prix silver medal
23rd October 2022
Teenager Caden Cunningham achieved the best result of his career to end the World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Manchester on a high note for the home squad.
The 19-year-old from Huddersfield knocked out a former Olympic champion on his way to the heavyweight final against Brazil’s Maicon Siqueira.
Giving away 10 years in experience to the Rio Games bronze medallist, Cunningham fought superbly and remained in contention going into the final 30 seconds.
But Siqueira used all his ring craft to complete a comeback victory after losing the opening round.
“He was a strong opponent and I feel like he had that extra experience,” said the exciting Yorkshire prospect who pocketed $3000 to go with his silver medal.
“He is a quality fighter and it was a pleasure to share the ring with him,” added Cunningham, a GP bronze medallist in Rome earlier this year.
“But I will come back and keep improving the colour of my medals and making them more frequent. I am gutted not to get gold but that’s taekwondo,” added Cunningham roared on throughout his five fights by family and friends.
“Hopefully, these results can get me into the GP final which will be more exposure fighting these types of guys. This is where I want to be.”
To reach the final, Cunningham made it third time lucky against 2016 Olympic champion, Cheick Salle Cisse.
The Ivory Coast fighter, who famously defeated Lutalo Muhammad in the last second of their -80kg Rio final, had won both previous match-ups.
This time Cunningham had the measure of the African ace, winning the first and third rounds, to advance to the final.
Cunningham’s other scalps included Siqueira’s compatriot, Icaro Miguel Soares, a World Championship silver medallist in Manchester three years ago.
Cunningham’s medal took GB Taekwondo’s final tally to seven, including three for the Para squad.
Triple world champion Bianca Walkden, in her first competition since her wedding to former GB star, Aaron Cook, started slowly in her opening fight to Maristella Smiraglia.
Walkden lost the first round before recovering her form over the next two.
She then came up against Lorena Brandl and made a more confident start to outscore her opponent 4-0 in the opening two minutes.
But Walkden couldn’t retain her superiority and was caught late in the decider, sinking to the mat in anguish after missing out on a medal.
After watching boyfriend Bradly Sinden win a bronze medal the previous day, Rebecca McGowan hoped to at least emulate the world championship title holder.
Instead, the Scot was another victim of Brandl despite winning the opening round. Brandl went on to beat French rival Althea Laurin to win her first GP title.
Teenager Morgan Curtis, the youngest member of GB’s squad made her GP debut alongside Walkden and McGowan in the heavyweight division.
The 17-year-old from Darlington was handed a tough opening round draw against Poland’s former European champion, Aleksandra Kowalczuk.
But the junior world championship bronze medallist pushed the double Grand Prix gold medallist in both rounds before losing 10-2.
Gold: Beth Munro (K44, -65kg)
Silver: Caden Cunningham (+80kg), Jade Jones (-57kg), Amy Truesdale (K44, +65kg)
Bronze: Bradly Sinden (-68kg), Joe Lane (K44, -80kg), Lauren Williams (-67kg)