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Stamper Ready For New Taekwondo Role After Calling Time On Fighting Career

London 2012 Olympian and former World bronze medallist Martin Stamper will start a new career in 2016 after announcing his retirement.

But the Liverpool born father of two won’t be lost to the sport and will re-join GB Taekwondo as a coach.

“It will be difficult retiring as an athlete but I am excited by the role,” says 29-year-old Stamper, a semi-finalist at the London Games and British Olympic Association taekwondo athlete of the year in 2011.

“I feel I can still be competitive but the game has moved on and I haven’t been as consistent as I would have liked.

“Getting selected for Rio was my big aim,” admitted Stamper, hopes of a second Olympic appearance dashed when GB Taekwondo selectors picked Mahama Cho to attempt to qualify the +80kg weight division at next month’s European Olympic qualification tournament in Turkey.

“I would have loved to have gone to another Olympics and finish my career on a high. I don’t feel like I am ready to give it up as an athlete but I just feel the timing is right.”

Stamper, who represented Team GB at last summer’s inaugural European Games in Azerbaijan, is one of the longest serving members of the GB Academy in Manchester.

A European Youth runner-up in 2001, he made his senior World Championship debut in 2005, won a European silver medal in 2008 before his most productive season three years later. The high spot was his World bronze in South Korea plus title wins at the US, German and British Opens.

Stamper’s form marked him out as a potential Olympic medallist at ExCel. Instead, his Games debut proved a bitter-sweet experience, losing his bronze medal match to Afghanistan’s Rohullah Nikpai.

Martin Stamper (3)

“I was gutted but the feeling of just having the focus on you as a GB athlete, walking out in front of 6,000 people sent shivers down my spine.

“Even if I carried on for another 20 years I would never experience anything like that again.

“Only a small group of people have ever competed at an Olympics so that is still nice and something to be proud of. I’m going to miss the feeling of landing a nice back kick. Or the feeling you get when winning and going home after a competition with your family so proud.

“But I can’t wait to start work in my new coaching role. I feel like I have been a coach for the last 15 years. It’s been a massive help working under (GB High Performance coach) Steve Jennings in the club at Liverpool Elite and gaining experience.

“Working with the GB Juniors the last year has taken that experience up a notch. But for now I’m looking to spending Christmas with the family and having a couple of weeks off because normally I am in training most of the time.”

Stamper won’t be the only coaching new boy in the New Year after the appointment of Davoud Etminani, a former GB International and GB National Junior Development coach.

GB Performance Director Gary Hall says: “Both Dav and Martin bring a wealth of elite level taekwondo training and competition knowledge as they have both held long standing athlete positions in the TKD programme.

“Both have seen the game evolve into what it is today and both know what it takes to win at the highest level in our sport.”

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