Turkish Delights For Gold Stars Jones And McNeish
Olympic champion Jade Jones collected her second title of 2015 and her third in succession at the WTF Turkish Open in Antalya.
And teenager Christian McNeish continues to press for Rio Olympic qualification next year by securing a second gold medal for the GB Taekwondo squad and his first senior title.
Jones returned to competition four days after her victory in the European Clubs’ Championship and looked anything but Jade-d!
The 21-year-old from Flint, a winner of the World Grand Prix finals series in Mexico, met home favourite, Durdane Altunel, in the -57kg division final. And she silenced the crowd to take the title and more ranking points towards qualifying for the 2016 Rio Games.
McNeish from Plaistow only joined the GB Academy in Manchester last year, via the ‘Fighting Chance’ initiative, after a career in kick boxing.
But the 17-year-old Londoner has quickly adapted to WTF Taekwondo and is proving a major player at -68kg despite competition from experienced team mates, Martin Stamper and Michael Harvey-both former world medallists.
McNeish, a Youth Olympics bronze medallist in 2014, gained a major senior success by beating GB Academy team-mate, Portsmouth’s Ben Haines to win the title. He qualified for the final with a crushing victory over Germany’s Balla Dieye. Haines himself enjoyed a strong run towards winning his silver medal, further underlining the progress he has made since joining the senior ranks.
Britain’s other medals-two bronzes-came from reigning European champion, Bianca Walkden and teenager Max Cater. The Liverpool born heavyweight, like Jones, struck gold at the Euro Clubs with a golden point final win over Nafia Kus.
This time Turk Kus turned the tables in the semi-finals before losing the final to Poland’s Aleksandra Kowalczuk.
Southampton born Cater, one of the newest intake at the Manchester based Academy and a recent winner of the Bosnia Open, boosted the medal tally to five at -58kg.
GB Performance Director Gary Hall will be hoping for more medals tomorrow (Sunday) when fighters include London 2012 bronze medallist, Lutalo Muhammad, and 2015 US Open champion, Damon Sansum.