Ready Steady Cook – Bianca Fired Up For World Title Tilt
18th October 2022
Bianca Cook will strive for a record-breaking fourth World Championship gold medal next month to honour the memory of her grandfather.
Cook, as Bianca Walkden, struck world gold in 2015, 2017 and 2019 and would become the first female to win four titles consecutively if victorious in Mexico.
The recently married Liverpool heavyweight along with Bradly Sinden and Jade Jones are GB Taekwondo’s trio of reigning world champions, putting their titles on the line in Guadalajara from November 13-20.
“The World Championships are massive for me because I have had such good success from them,” said the current European champion.
“But it is not just about the gold. They also keep me close to my grandad (Pasquale Di Scala).
“When I won my first world title in 2015, I wanted to take home the gold medal to show him. Sadly, he passed away an hour before my final.
“So, every time I go to the world championships I fight for my grandad and his name.
“Hopefully, he will be looking down and help me get that fourth medal so I can do him proud.”
Cook completed her hat trick in Manchester three years ago with a memorable and controversial victory over China’s Zheng Shuyin.
Three years later and now 31, she is having to adapt her fighting style to World Taekwondo’s ever-changing rules.
“They are just part of the new game,” she said. “You can’t start thinking ‘they are not for me’ or “I wish they were like they were previously.’
“It is frustrating they are changing all the time, but everyone is in the same boat. I have got to adapt to them and do the best I can because I want to win the world championship again.”
Cook is part of a 13-strong GB squad heading to central America. “The world championships are one of the two pinnacles of the sport and we have had to wait an extra year to get this chance,” said Yorkshire fighter Sinden, Britain’s first able-bodied male to claim a world crown.
“The feeling of winning is indescribable, and it would be amazing to do it again,” said the 24-year-old Doncaster.
“Every competition is vital for ranking points and learning for the Paris Olympics, including the World Grand Prix in Manchester this weekend, but winning the worlds would give me a good boost.
“So, to achieve my goal of becoming Olympic champion these competitions are vital,” said the Tokyo 2020 silver medallist.
The world championships were scheduled to take place in April 2022 in Wuxi, China but was postponed due to Covid-19.
Sinden is the only member of the male squad that has previously experienced senior world championship action.
Londoner Zack Thomas Sarsoza, 18, had a successful career at Cadet level but now gets chance to impress at -54kg.
GBT bosses in Manchester have also successfully secured a place in the tournament as a refugee athlete for Afghanistan-born, Farzad Mansouri.
The 20-year-old enjoyed similar status at the European Championships in Manchester earlier this year, fighting at -80kg. This time he goes for glory at -74kg.
There are senior world debuts for Phoenix Goodman and Jodie McKew. Aaliyah Powell, a bronze medallist three years ago at –53kg, competes this time at -62kg having beaten Stoke’s Chloe Roberts in a fight-off for the spot.
Many of the World Championship squad, including Sinden, Jones and Walkden will also be in action at the Grand Prix in Manchester (October 20-23).
-54kg: Zack Thomas Sarsoza (Fulham)
-58kg: Mo Nour (Roehampton)
-63kg: Josh Tobin (Burscough)
-68kg: Bradly Sinden (Doncaster)
+87kg: Caden Cunningham (Huddersfield)
-74kg: Farzad Mansouri
-46kg: Phoenix Goodman (Southampton)
-49kg: Maddison Moore (Blakedown)
-53kg: Jodie McKew (Dollingstown, Craigavon)
-57kg: Jade Jones (Flint)
-62kg: Aaliyah Powell (Huddersfield)
-67kg: Lauren Williams (Blackwood)
-73kg: Rebecca McGowan (Dumbarton)
+73kg: Bianca Cook (Liverpool)