Updated: Wednesday, 17th July 2019 @ 5:08pm

Fight for places hots up in GB’s Olympic Taekwondo squad as Open hits Manchester

Fight for places hots up in GB’s Olympic Taekwondo squad as Open hits Manchester

By Jack Travers

Qualification for places in Great Britain’s Olympic Taekwondo squad is hotting up with the British Open in Manchester kicking off on Saturday.

Team GB are fresh off the back of winning four medals in the World Championships in April and confidence is high that they can improve on the solitary bronze Sarah Stevenson took in Beijing.

Andrew Deer and Damon Sansum are two of the men hoping to get the one Olympic slot up for grabs in the -80kg category and both agree that competition for places is a key factor in the squad’s recent success.

The British Open is the start of the selection process. Athletes can also qualify through the French and Dutch Opens as well as the European Championships hosted in Manchester next May.

Sansum said: “There is lots of internal competition for Olympic selection but this is good as if my team mate improves then I have to as well. This kind of competition is healthy.

“Team GB feels like a big family. We all know how hard we all work. The squad is doing really well collectively.

“The British Open is going to be a big one. It is a strong field and will be very competitive. I am looking forward to it.”

Taekwondo has grown as a sport in the UK since Stevenson took bronze in the 2008 Olympics and the GB performance in the World Championships suggests good things could be on the horizon for the squad in London.

Deer, who got injured during training forcing him to sit out the British Open, said: “Even picking up the one medal in Beijing opened up a lot of doors for the sport.

“The strength of the other competitors is amazing to see and the talent coming through in the UK is great.

“The development and junior teams that are coming through are going from strength to strength and the sport in this country is certainly going in the right direction. If you make the roots strong then the tree will be strong as well.”