Cho Plots ‘Hama Horrors For Euro Games Rivals
Heavyweight Mahama Cho has plenty food for thought as he contemplates his debut at the European Games in Baku.
A year that started promisingly with a silver medal at the US Open hasn’t yet brought further major rewards.
There was certainly disappointment caused by an early exit from last month’s World Championships in Russia.
But the ‘Stockwell slayer’ hopes to re-discover his best form in the Azerbaijani capital on Thursday and confirm his status as a contender for Rio 2016.
However, it won’t be easy for the 25-year-old, former World Grand Prix gold medallist. His rivals include local hero, world champion and number one seed, Radik Isayev.
“I am in the best condition I can be and I am ready,” says third seed Cho who starts his campaign against Konstantinos Gkoltsios of Greece. “The most important thing is to be relaxed and cool.
“All the training is done; the most important thing for me is in the mind.
“If your mind is in the right place you will perform well; if it’s not then it can go anyway,”adds Cho, relishing the prospect of his first multi sports Games.
“The set-up in Baku is similar to an Olympics. So, it’s going to be a good experience as part of my development as an athlete.
“I will approach it the same way as an open tournament and do the best I can.”
Cho will celebrate any medal success with a hearty feed. “That’s the pleasure of being a heavyweight you don’t have to watch what you eat,” he laughs.
“There are times when I love a nice meal. But what I eat or don’t eat isn’t the reason why I win or don’t win.
“Besides, to perform at my best I know I have to be a certain weight. So, I won’t go totally crazy or off the scales.”
In contrast, the two lightest members of the Manchester trained GB squad in Baku make their tournament bows today.
Max Cater, a Bosnia and Swiss Open winner this year, tackles Dylan Chellamootoo of France in his first bout at -58kg. Charlie Maddock faces Ukrainian Iryna Romoldanova in her opening contest at -49kg.
BT Sport are broadcasting the Games live and also there is a live stream available via www.gbtaekwondo.co.uk
Schedule (+4 hour time difference in Baku)
June 16: -58kg Max Cater (Southampton)
June 17:-68kg Martin Stamper (Liverpool)
June 18:-80kg: Lutalo Muhammad (Walthamstow)
June 19:+80kg Mahama Cho (Stockwell)
June 16:-49kg:Charlie Maddock (Stoke on Trent)
June 17:-57kg Jade Jones (Flint)
June 19:+67kg Bianca Walkden (Liverpool)