22nd December 2017

World number one Bianca Walkden has crowned the best year of her career with another accolade.

The 26-year-old Liverpool heavyweight was named GB Taekwondo’s athlete for 2017 after 12 months in which she retained her World Championship title and went undefeated in the World Grand Prix series, including the overall final in the Ivory Coast earlier this month.

Walkden’s achievements also saw her named as one of the 12 contenders for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, eventually polling more than 13,000 votes.

“There are not enough superlatives to describe Bianca’s year,” said GB Taekwondo Performance Director, Gary Hall.

“She has enjoyed some truly, amazing results. In effect, she has run five world titles.

“Bianca is an outstanding athlete and an outstanding personality,” added Hall of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games bronze medallist.

Mahama Cho was voted male athlete of the year, edging out up and coming prospect, Bradly Sinden, into second place.

Walkden’s fellow Liverpudlian, Steve Jennings, collected the trophy of ‘coach of the year.’

“Cho won a World Championship silver medal, a World Grand Prix gold in Rabat and also a Grand Prix bronze medal,” added Hall. “So, his performances were also outstanding.

“But it was close because Bradly made major progress as an athlete, winning a World Championship bronze medal and a World Grand Prix silver medal.”

On Jennings’ contribution Hall added: “The male team has enjoyed a great year and won more medals than it has done before.

“Much of that is down to the athletes’ commitment but also the huge contribution and commitment of Steve-not just this year but since 2001.

“It’s been an outstanding year for the programme and so my congratulations and thanks go to everyone who has contributed.”

In addition, Aaliyah Powell and Adrian Wagstaffe were chosen as the Development Squad Female and Male Athlete of the Year for 2017. Both won silver at the European Junior Championships in Cyprus.

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