It’s the final countdown! Month to go before London hosts World Para and World Grand Prix taekwondo events
20th September 2017
With A month to go before international taekwondo returns to the UK for the first time in nearly two years, Amy Truesdale and Mahama Cho can’t wait to ‘rock the Box’ at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
And the next Olympic Games may be three years away but four days of competition at the Copper Box Arena will be stepping stones on the road to Tokyo 2020.
Truesdale, a former shoe shop worker from Chester, kicks off the action on October 19 when Britain hosts the World Para Taekwondo Championships for the first time.
Then it’s the turn of Londoner Cho, Rio 2016 silver medallist, Lutalo Muhammad, and their GB Taekwondo teammates, also lining up against the sport’s elite, for the World Taekwondo Grand Prix from October 20-22.
The two events, backed by National Lottery funding, have attracted more than 350 athletes and will showcase the popular martial art to thousands of spectators at the Copper Box and millions watching around the globe.
“This will be my fourth World Paras and I am so excited to have this chance to fight in front of a home crowd at last,” says Truesdale, already celebrating after winning an able-bodied National title in Manchester last Sunday.
“I am world number one now and I know I am there to be taken down.
“But I know I will have extra motivation from competing in London. My ultimate goal is to compete at Tokyo 2020 when Para taekwondo is included for the first time.
“And the World Paras will be a great opportunity to experience a major competition and to test myself once more against the best in the world.”
Cho, who grew up in Stockwell before joining the GB Taekwondo Academy in Manchester, became Britain’s first ever Grand Prix champion, winning the heavyweight division in Manchester in December 2013.
He represented Team GB at Rio 2016, finishing fourth, and earlier this year claimed silver at the World Championships in South Korea.
“The Grand Prix is really where it all started for me so the tournament always means a lot to me,” says the 28-year-old. “And I’d love to win it again especially in front of friends and family.
“I didn’t compete at London 2012 but this Grand Prix is going to bring back that Olympic feeling again.
“There will be a fantastic atmosphere and we are really looking forward to it. And speaking to other athletes I know they can’t wait to come to London to take part.
“The competition is going to be such a high standard and it will be an amazing show especially with everything else London has to offer with its culture, food, people and scenery.”
Double Olympic medallist and Walthamstow born Muhammad is eager to make his return to the capital for the first time since London 2012.
“I grew up just 7 minutes from the where the Copper Box Arena is, so to go back there and compete – it’s going to be an amazing experience.
“The home crowd made all the difference in the world during London 2012, so to get a taste of that same support once again would be great.”
Julia Newton, Chair of GB Taekwondo, said: “London will always have a special place in the history of GB Taekwondo.
“The 2012 Olympic Games popularised and showcased our sport to a bigger audience than ever before.
“The public were captivated by the exploits of Team GB and in particular, Jade Jones, who became Britain’s first ever taekwondo Olympic gold medallist.
“So, I am delighted international taekwondo is back in the capital, firstly with the World Para Championships and then followed by the World Taekwondo Grand Prix.
“Britain’s Paralympic and able-bodied competitors received great support at the athletics’ World Championships at the London Stadium earlier this year.
“And I know our leading performers, including Jade Jones, Bianca Walkden, Mahama Cho and Damon Sansum, will also flourish in front of a home crowd.”
Watch Olympic medallists Jade Jones, Lutalo Muhammad and Bianca Walkden compete at the London edition of the World Taekwondo Grand Prix, which takes place in the Copper Box Arena from 20-22 October.
For the first time, Britain’s leading Paralympic star, Amy Truesdale, will also be battling the world’s best at the World Para Taekwondo Championships alongside newcomers, Leif Thobroe, Matt Bush, Joseph Lane and Katy Elay on 19 October.
Tickets are now on sale for both events at: www.ticketmaster.co.uk/taekwondo and https://www.seetickets.com/tour/world-taekwondo-championships
GB Squad for the World Para Taekwondo Championships:
-61 Leif Thobroe (Swansea)
-75 Joseph Lane (Middlesex)
+75 Matthew Bush (Neyland)
-58 Katie Elay (Port Talbot)
+58 Amy Truesdale (Chester)