Olé! Spanish success for Manchester-based British taekwondo squad as World Championships loom

By Steven Oldham 

Great Britain’s elite taekwondo fighters continued their preparations for July’s World Championships in Mexico by picking up four medals at the Spanish Open this weekend. 

Martin Stamper and Bianca Walkden both won gold, whilst Olympic champion Jade Jones and the returning Lutalo Muhammad won bronze in Alicante. 

Walkden has now won five tournaments in under a year, while Stamper adds to his German Open success in March

He said: “I was really happy with my performances. I had five tough fights against some quality opponents and felt pretty comfortable in each fight.

I can now carry on my preparation for the Worlds and go in full of confidence hoping to better my bronze of two years ago.”

Stamper beat Russia’s Vladmir Kim 2-0 in a tense -68kg final, and his focus will now turn to improving on bronze in the last World Championships in South Korea.

Walkden’s fight came down to a referee’s decision after she and France’s Gwladys Epangue fought a 6-6 draw in the +73kg final, even after sudden death.

She said: “It felt like a ‘mini-Worlds’ given the quality of opponents. Now it’s back to the Academy where I will train with all my heart so hopefully I’ll be on the podium in Mexico. 

I picked up a few good things to work on and I’m just going to commit. I want to be unbeatable.”

London 2012 bronze medallist Muhammad also picked up third here after narrowly losing his semi final 9-8 to Iran’s Mahdi Khodabakhshi in the -87kg.

Olympic champion Jones also went out in the semis and could not build on her German Open title after being beaten 13-7 by Spain’s Eva Gomez. 

ALL SMILES: Spanish Open medal winners Jade, Martin, Bianca and Lutalo

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Photos courtesy of GB Taekwondo, with thanks 

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