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GB newcomers confident they can pass World Championship test

Hassan Haider and Courtney Eardley are just three months into their careers with GB Taekwondo but are already looking forward to their debuts at the World Taekwondo Championships in Muju, South Korea. (June 24-30).

Scottish teenager Hassan and Eardley from Wakefield joined the Manchester-based programme as part of the latest Fighting Chance talent ID initiative.

They quickly impressed GB Performance Director, Gary Hall, and his selectors and are included in a formidable looking squad including double Olympic champion, Jade Jones, and reigning World Champion, Bianca Walkden.

“Realistically, it would have been a goal to go to the Worlds in three years not three months,” said Eardley, born in South Africa but who moved to England aged just 18 months.

“It’s all new and really exciting to see what happens out in South Korea.

“I was very shocked when I heard I had been selected and because I was so shocked I didn’t really not know what to say.”

Eardley, 18, has won a silver medal at the WTF President’s Cup in Greece plus bronze medals from tournaments in Croatia and Belgium.

“It’s the biggest competition I have been selected for so I don’t want to say ‘I am going to bring home a medal.’

“That would be my dream goal but I will be up against some amazing fighters.

“I will probably have a few up and down moments with nerves but I am sure I will be able to manage them.”

Haider, 19 from Falkirk, who will fight at -54kg, says: “It’s going to be a great experience.

“I will be up against the world’s best players so I can see where I am compared to them.

‘Since I have joined the GB Academy I already feel like I have come on so much tactically. So, if I can fight my game I can do really well.”

Haider also medalled at the President’s Cup in Athens, adding another bronze at the Austrian Open.

“The President’s Cup was a hard competition and a lot of the world’s best players were there. But I felt I performed well.

“This is my first time in Korea and it has always been my dream to go out there. I’ve seen people going and back and forth during the time I have been doing taekwondo. So, it’s going to be an amazing experience.”

You can watch the World Championships live on the GB Taekwondo website here and follow Hassan’s progress via his draw sheet here.

World Championships Schedule:

Saturday June 24th

(W-46kg and M-54kg prelims) – Hassan Haider

Sunday June 25th

(W-49kg and M-74kg prelims) – Courtney Eardley & Christian McNeish

(W-46kg and M-54kg FINALS) – Hassan Haider

Monday June 26th

(W-67kg and M-68kg prelims) – Lauren Williams & Peter Longobardi-Radford

(W-49kg and M-74kg FINALS) – Courtney Eardley & Christian McNeish

Tuesday June 27th

(W-53kg, W+73kg and M-58kg prelims) – Bianca Walkden & Max Cater

(W-67kg and M-68kg FINALS) – Lauren Williams & Peter Longobardi-Radford

Wednesday June 28th

(W-73kg, M-87 and M+87kg prelims) – Jade Slavin, Lutalo Muhammad & Mahama Cho

(W-53kg, W+73kg and M-58kg FINALS) – Bianca Walkden & Max Cater

Thursday June 29th

(W-57kg and M-63kg prelims) – Jade Jones & Bradly Sinden

(W-73kg, M-87 and M+87kg FINALS) – Jade Slavin, Lutalo Muhammad & Mahama Cho

Friday June 30th

(W-62kg and M-80kg prelims & FINALS) – Rachelle Booth, Damon Sansum

(W-57kg and M-63kg FINALS) – Jade Jones & Bradly Sinden

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