Swedish success for GB Taekwondo as Manchester-based Bianca Walkden and Damon Sansum clinch gold

By Steven Oldham 

Manchester-based taekwondo fighters Bianca Walkden and Damon Sansum won gold for Great Britain at the Trelleborg Open in Sweden on Sunday. 

Walkden, 21, convincingly beat Austria’s Edina Kurtovic 10-2 in the +73kg final whilst Sansum overcame Serbia’s Djordje Marcetic 13-3 to win the +87kg event.

The in-form Liverpudlian picked up her fourth successive tournament win after victories in France, Switzerland and Serbia, whilst Sansum picked up his first tournament victory since last year’s German Open. 

Bianca said: “It was an easy day. Somehow, I don’t think it will be as easy at the World Championships later in the year! But I am really pleased to win another tournament.” 

Since being overlooked for selection for London 2012, Bianca has been unstoppable and is aiming to pick up more titles ahead of this summer’s World Championships in Mexico. 

Damon, 25, picked up his first success since stepping up from -80kg, and he was in reflective mood despite his impressive win. 

He said: “I probably should have won more medals than I have. I know I am fitter, stronger and more agile than some of the guys who have beaten me in the past, but I am still learning the tricks of the trade.”

Sansum stressed the need for consistency and believes more medals will follow if he can achieve this.

Team GB also collected three bronze medals in Sweden, with Tameside’s Michael Harvey and team-mate George Lee both making the last four of the -68kg competiton.

Lee’s bronze is the 17-year-old’s first senior medal and matches his achievement in last year’s junior tournament in Trelleborg.

Ruebyn Richards continued his medal winning form by picking up bronze in the -80kg, following a silver in Serbia and another bronze in November’s French Open.

Richards narrowly missed out on facing former team-mate Aaron Cook in the final, losing to Bosnia’s Armin Gredic on golden point.

Cook went on to pick up the gold in his first appearance representing the Isle of Man, having switched allegiance to the island following GB Taekwondo’s decision to pick eventual bronze medallist Lutalo Muhammad ahead of him for last year’s Olympic Games.

London 2012 gold medallist Jade Jones made a low-key first appearance since her historic victory last summer, going out in the first round of the -57kg class on Saturday.

There was little pressure on Jones to perform given it’s been over six months since she last competed.  She will hope to regain her top form in time for the Worlds in July.

Expectations are high for the team to improve on their 2012 haul at the German Open next month, where Muhammad and Jones won silver to compliment Sansum’s gold.

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Photo courtesy of Steve Flynn, with thanks

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