Fab Four Grand Prix Titles for Unbeatable Liverpool Star Walkden
2nd December 2017
Bianca Walkden made World Taekwondo Grand Prix history by retaining her overall series title in the Ivory Coast on Saturday night.
The double world champion from Liverpool defeated South Korea’s Da-Bin Lee in the heavyweight final to complete a clean sweep of Grand Prix gold medals in 2017.
And Walkden’s win showed just why she’s been nominated as one of the 12 contenders for the BBC TV Sports Personality of the Year award.
No other heavyweight in the world has been able to live with the 26-year-old Liverpudlian this year who had previously secured Grand Prix wins in Moscow, Rabat and London.
Walkden made a lightening start to the +67kg competition dismantling Saebom An of South Korea 18-2 in her opening bout.
A semi-final against 2012 Olympic champion, Milica Mandic proved her hardest match. But Walkden secured her place in the final with a 7-6 win.
Asian champion Lee, 21, stood between the British star and an unprecedented fourth successive GP success.
Walkden wasn’t about to let her shot at history disappear and she defeated Lee 16-9.
“I honestly can’t believe I’ve done it, I’m having to pinch myself,” said the champion. “But it’s awesome.”
There was disappointment though for teammates Max Cater (-58kg) and Damon Sansum (-80kg). Sansum lost his quarter-final to Yassine Trabelsi of Tunisia while Cater went down 28-12 at the same stage against eventual silver medallist, Farzan Fallah of Iran.
*Amy Truesdale, Britain’s first and only Para World Taekwondo champion, bids for more success herself tomorrow. (Monday)
The Chester born star, who won world gold in London six weeks ago, is one of three GB athletes competing at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) Games in Portugal.
First held 12 years ago in Rio, the Games are a multi Para sport tournament featuring: archery, athletics, swimming, table tennis and taekwondo.
“This is the second IWAS Games I have attended and having won silver last time, it would be great to get gold this time.
“I have got the European Championships coming up as well this month so it was straight back into training after the World Championships.
“The Games are like a mini Olympics so it’s more good preparation for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.”
Truesdale is joined on the Algarve by teammates Leif Thobroe and Matthew Bush who both made World Championship debuts in London earlier this year.
Grand Prix Schedule:
Sunday (December 3)
-68kg: Peter Longobardi-Radford (Rye)
+80kg: Mahama Cho (Stockwell, London).
-57kg: Jade Jones (Flint)
-67kg: Lauren Williams (Newport, Gwent)