Decorated GB Taekwondo heavyweight brings curtain down on Cho time!
9th December 2021
Double Olympian Mahama Cho has brought the hammer down on his glittering career.
Cho, Britain’s leading heavyweight athlete for more than a decade, has confirmed his decision in an emotional statement.
The 32-year-old Ivory Coast born athlete fought for the final time at Tokyo 2020, losing in the round of the last 16 to China’s Sun Hongyi on golden point.
Cho won the European Olympic qualification event for Rio 2016 where he finished just outside the medals.
He enjoyed his finest moment at the 2017 World Championships in South Korea, winning a silver medal in the +87kg weight division.
Nicknamed the ‘Hammer’ for a ferocious right-hand punch, Cho used the weapon to great effect at the inaugural World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Manchester in 2013.
It helped him beat Brazil’s Guilherme Felix in sudden death to become GB Taekwondo’s first ever Grand Prix gold medallist.
Other major honours came at the 2019 World Grand Slam in Wuxi (silver), the 2019 WT Presidents Cup Oceania (gold), 2019 WT Presidents Cup Europe (gold), 2017 World Grand Prix, Rabat (gold).
Cho, however, won’t be lost to the sport of taekwondo. He has accepted a coaching position with the prestigious Warrior Academy in the Middle East.
And his move strengthens a new partnership between GB Taekwondo and the Dubai based facility which will see more athletes make the transition from competitive fighter to coach and mentor. Cho’s fellow heavyweight, Jack Spall, has already made the move.
“Some say I am retiring but I say I am way too old to be retiring,” said Cho, announcing his decision.
“I am saying goodbye to a career of ups and downs: success, glamour, friendship, knowledge and a bit of a celebrity lifestyle that didn’t match the pain.
“But I look back and can be proud for what I have done for my country. And I am most grateful for what my country has offered me; opportunities to travel the world and represent it at the highest level.
“I only hope I have set the standard for those who are looking for examples to achieve at the highest level: a standard for those who want to achieve at the highest level, a standard so youngsters can fulfil their dreams.
“Now, I am moving on to other opportunities; one I have dreamed about since being a youngster-how to be able to inspire, how to be able to help youngsters improve in their careers and in their goals
“I am most grateful this opportunity has landed on my lap and to work with an organisation such as Warrior Academy, to be able to fulfil the needs of our youngsters who I once used to be.
“I know exactly what needs to be done to help them fulfil their needs. It is an exciting time and I hope I can make an impact the same way I made an impact in the world class programme.”
GB Performance Director Gary Hall said: “Cho has been a fantastic person, athlete and professional during his 10+ career with GB Taekwondo.
“Cho and the world class coaches (in particular Steve Jennings) and the science and medicine team have been on an incredible journey to achieve what no GB heavyweight has done before him, and he achieved this through some inspiring training and competition performances.
“I am delighted that he now moves onto this new chapter in his life and I have no doubt he will inspire many young martial artists on their life journeys. All the very best with his future career.”
Founder of The Warrior Academy, Sebastian Bates said: “We are excited about our new official partnership with the GB Taekwondo Team, where we aim to support athletes to pursue their future careers within martial arts after their competing cycle.
“The whole team look forward to the inclusion of Cho in our high performance environment. We believe this new and exciting opportunity for Cho will provide countless life-changing, high value experiences that align closely with his values honed as a world class athlete.
“The Warrior Academy has been voted top 5 in the UK for activities for children and our expansion into Dubai in 2019 has seen us become the largest provider of martial arts for children in the UAE.”