Manchester-based taekwondo fighter Martin Stamper believes he has improved enough as a fighter to go for gold at the forthcoming World Championships in Mexico.
Martin – who won bronze at the same event in South Korea in 2011 – is part of a nine-person team competing for Great Britain from GB Taekwondo’s Newton Heath Academy.
The 26-year-old’s preparations for Mexico have included a victory at the German Open and using an altitude tent both in training and at home.
He said: “Preparation for the Worlds is going really well. We are using the altitude tent to train in and I’ve got one at home. I’ve been kicked into the spare room. It’s a bit weird saying goodnight to my girlfriend Amy. The heat makes it tough.
We went to Mexico last year for a training camp and that’s the only altitude training I’ve done before. Hopefully it will pay off.”
He is confident that he has progressed enough to challenge for the world title.
“I have a good chance. I do feel I can get more than bronze this time. I’ve improved my fights with the new electronic scoring system. It’s in the past year I’ve seen my best results with this system,” said Martin.
Stamper also competed at London 2012, narrowly missing out on a medal. He lost his semi final to eventual winner Servet Tazegul of Turkey, and Afghanistan’s Rohullah Nikpai took a close bronze medal match 5-3.
“I was devastated not to medal at London 2012. I didn’t take much of a break after the Olympics, which maybe I should’ve done. I have learnt from that and now my focus is reacing Rio 2016.
As a child, one of my aims was to be world champion. I think the near miss in London will spur me on and make me more determined to do well in Mexico. It’s helped in tough competitions like the German Open,” he explained.
Great Britain had their best ever performance in taekwondo at London 2012, with lightweight Jade Jones becoming the country’s first Olympic champion and Lutalo Muhammad picking up bronze in the men’s middleweight competition.
Their success has not gone unnoticed – taekwondo was one of the sports to see funding increase post-London 2012 for the next Olympic cycle – UK Sport are investing £6.9million (a £2.1million rise) over the next four years in the top level athletes.
“A lot of money is being invested in us, so we need to do our best. Things like the altitude tent can only improve our performance so it’s important we don’t take anything for granted,” Martin said.
Photo courtesty of GB Taekwondo, with thanks