GB gladiators Sinden and Williams win Grand Prix medals in Rome
1st June 2018
Bradly Sinden and Lauren Williams guaranteed two medals for GB Taekwondo after the opening day of the World Taekwondo World Grand Prix in Rome.
But Sinden and recently crowned European champion, Christian McNeish, both fell victim to Russian star, Aleksey Denisenko.
“I reckon I put in some good performances,” said Sinden, a Grand Prix silver medallist in London last season.
“I had hoped for the win but just got caught at the end,” he added after an 18-12 defeat in the semi-finals of the -68kg weight division.
“But I can take plenty of positives from the day. I have been developing really well as an athlete.
“I just need to keep pushing, getting more medals and climbing the rankings,” added Sinden, an impressive 32-28 quarter-final winner over 2015 world champion, Jaouad Achab of Belgium
Teammate McNeish had been attempting to win a sixth successive tournament while looking to build on last month’s European title victory in Russia.
Instead, the in-form Plaistow fighter lost on golden point to Olympian Denisenko in the last 16.
Welsh star Williams also enjoyed a notable scalp en route to the last four in the women’s -67kg division.
Her rivalry with reigning world title holder, Ruth Gbagbi, are usually eye-catching. And this latest head-to-head with her Ivory Coast opponent was no different with the European gold medallist winning on golden point.
Unfortunately for Williams her bid for another title ended in a 23-11 defeat to French rival, Weit Henin. “I am gutted,” said the 19-year-old.
“I had two strong performances in the last 16 and the quarter-finals though I started off poorly.
“On reflection, it has been a decent day considering the restriction I have had in training due to a couple of hamstring injuries.
“I am looking forward now to some time off. Now is the perfect chance to re-charge, rest-up and get ready for later in the season.”
A total of seven Manchester trained athletes have travelled to the Eternal City.
Young Scot Hassan Haider and experienced compatriot, Damon Sansum, complete the men’s team.
The women’s squad is headed by recently crowned European champion, Jade Jones. Welsh star Jones has claimed a staggering 13 Grand Prix medals, since her first in 2013, including golds in London and the Ivory Coast last year.
Former World Championship bronze medallist, Rachelle Booth, completes the team.
The inaugural Rome tournament at the Foro Italico has attracted 255 athletes from 51 nations.
GB Taekwondo squad
-58kg: Hassan Haider (Falkirk)
-68kg: Christian McNeish (Plaistow), Bradly Sinden (Doncaster)
-80kg: Damon Sansum (Elgin)
-57kg: Rachelle Booth (Wigan), Jade Jones (Flint)
-67kg: Lauren Williams (Blackwood)