SPOTY-light on world champion Walkden as GB Taekwondo stars head for year ending Grand Prix finale
1st December 2017
Bianca Walkden aims to crown another memorable week in an outstanding year by adding the overall World Taekwondo Grand Prix title to her collection this weekend.
And a gold medal-winning performance in the Ivory Coast tomorrow (Saturday) could boost Walkden’s chances of winning BBC Television’s Sports Personality of the Year.
‘Queen B’ is one of 12 contenders, including four women, for the famous trophy which will be decided in her home city of Liverpool on Sunday, December 17.
“It’s such an honour to be nominated because it’s such a huge award and especially with it being in Liverpool,” says the 26-year-old reigning world champion.
“The people I am up against are global stars and for me to be in that same bracket is unbelievable.
“My family went crazy when I told them the news. They’ve all been asking if they can all come.
“At the moment there’s about 50 of them wanting tickets,” laughed the world’s undisputed world number one heavyweight in 2017.
Walkden has won all three Grand Prix events held this year including the London leg of the series at the Copper Box Arena.
She is also reigning overall champion having beaten China’s Shuyin Zheng Shuyin in Azerbaijan 12 months ago.
“My aim is to do the best I can and I will die trying to get the gold medal,” she said.
“But more than anything I just want to go and enjoy it and try to end the year on another high,” added the Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist.
Walkden’s gold in London six weeks ago was one of five medals won by the Manchester trained squad with double Olympic champion, Jade Jones, and reigning European champion, Lauren Williams, also finishing on top of the podium.
Bradly Sinden (silver, -68kg) and Mahama Cho (bronze +80kg) completed the nap hand of medals.
Only South Korean and Russia have won more medals in the 2017 Grand Prix series than GB’s total of 10. But just South Korea can boast more gold medals-seven against six.
This weekend’s tournament in Abidjan is an emotional one for Walkden’s fellow heavyweight, Cho.
He was born in the Ivory Coast capital before the family settled in London.
Cho defeated Russian Roman Kuznetsov to win the Rabat Grand Prix leg in September and hopes a return to Africa can bring him a further gold.
Get behind Bianca Walkden for Sports Personality of the Year on 17th December by casting your vote online or by phone on the night! Click here for more info.
Saturday, (December 2)
-58kg: Max Cater (Bermondsey, London)
-80kg: Damon Sansum (Elgin)
Sunday (December 3)
-68kg: Peter Longobardi-Radford (Rye)
+80kg: Mahama Cho (Stockwell, London)
Saturday (December 2)
+67kg: Bianca Walkden (Liverpool)
Sunday (December 3)
-57kg: Jade Jones (Flint)
-67kg: Lauren Williams (Newport, Gwent)