It’s been a mixed year for Martin Stamper but the Liverpool taekwondo star believes he will be at his best for this month’s Manchester Grand Prix.
The 29-year-old had a strong start to the year with two silver medals to his name from the US and Spanish Opens as well a bronze medal in Austria.
But it hasn’t all been plain sailing for Stamper who had a tough time at this year’s European Games where he exited in the quarter final.
However, he says the exit has forced him to change his game and believes he is in a strong place heading into the Grand Prix.
“I think this year I have come back and performed well and picked up a few medals, I went to the European Games in Baku as well,” said Stamper.
“I fought the world number one there and probably got beat the most convincingly I have ever been beaten in my career.
“That prompted a few changes in my game and since then I have had three tournaments in Australia and had two grands prix.
“It is such a competitive weight, I lost out in the first match in Russia in the last kick and the guy went on and won it.
“It’s so tight but I feel like I am doing really well and performing well and I am just hoping that those performances turn into results in Manchester.
“I feel like I am doing the right things in the gym but I am frustrated because I haven’t got the big medals this year.”
Stamper is one of the country’s most experienced fighters after taking world bronze in 2011 as well as European silver and bronze in 2008 and 2012 respectively and he thinks he is close to reaching those heights once more.
“Baku was a turning point in my game because the way the game has changed I have had to adapt and work on a few things,” he added.
“I’m a more thoughtful player and I appreciate the game and the system a lot more but at my best I was beating everyone so I’m not back yet.
“But I am only losing by the odd point here and there so I am close but a few more weeks in the gym before Manchester should do me well.
“I love fighting in my home country. Some people don’t like the pressure but I love it and really feed off the crowd.
“In Manchester as soon as a GB player is on the crowd is up and that gives me chills and raises my levels.”
The World Taekwondo Grand Prix – featuring the very best Olympic and world champions from across the game – is coming to Manchester on October 16-18. Tickets on sale at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/WTGP
Image courtesy of Taekwondo Forum via YouTube, with thanks.