Huddersfield native Aaliyah Powell fought valiantly to the third place of the women’s -57kg category at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final – overcoming two-time Olympic champion Jade Jones in the process.
Powell, 21, who is already a three-time World Championships bronze medalist, came away with the bronze following the retirement of her opponent in the bronze medal match, Lo Chia-ling of the Chinese Taipei.
“It is a shame I couldn’t fight for that bronze, but I also wanted to get that gold, so I am a bit disappointed on that,” Powell said.
Powell managed to beat Jones, for the first time in her career, in a thrilling 2-1 quarterfinal in front of their home crowd, before falling to 21-year-old Faith Dillon from the USA in the semifinals.
“Fighting Jade is never easy, but you know we are fighting to go to Paris, fighting to go to the Olympics but it’s good to be at the top level to show what next year can be,
“It’s been a long year for everyone, so it’s great getting a break and some rest. Next year is going to be a big year for everyone, an Olympic year. I am really looking forward and ahead to that,” Powell added.
Jones had previously survived a first-round scare against Maria Clara Pacheco of Brazil, as the home audience powered her to a comeback from 1-0 behind, which set up the matchup against Powell.
Tokyo Olympic silver medalist and reigning World Champion at the men’s -68kg category Bradly Sinden received a bye to the quarterfinals where he suffered a surprise 2-0 loss to Jordan’s Zaid Alhalawani in a hard-fought matchup.
Sinden had accumulated enough points before this competition to qualify for Paris through ranking and will be focused on repeating or even better his previous Olympic feat.
In the women’s -49kg category, 18-year-old Phoenix Goodman made her senior debut against the 2020 Olympic Champion Panipak Wongpattanakit from Thailand, in the first round, where she eventually lost 2-0.
Mohammed Nour had a tough matchup in the Round of 16 of the men’s -58kg category, facing 2023 World Championship bronze medalist Adrian Vicente Yunta of Spain, fought fiercely in the second round of the fight but eventually was defeated with a score of 2-0.
On Friday, Great Britain won a gold and a silver in the Paralympic section of the tournament as Beth Munro came victorious in the K44 women’s -65kg category beating Elena Savinskaya from Russia in the final, whereas Amy Truesdale lost in the decisive matchup to Uzbekistan’s Guljonoy Naimova and walked away with silver in the +65kg category.
Munro and Truesdale both sealed their tickets to Paris, as well as Joe Lane did in the men’s -80kg category.
Image credit: Sam Mellish