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Other Sports - 28. April 2011.

Korea Test for GB Taekwondo Stars

Performance Director Gary Hall is optimistic his Great Britain squad can produce a best ever performance at the WTF World Championship starting in South Korea on Sunday.

Indeed, with 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Sarah Stevenson and world number three Bianca Walkden back in the team after recent family issues and injury respectively, Hall has every reason to feel confident.

And nothing would give his confident squad more pleasure than impressing in the spiritual home of taekwondo.

"This is an exciting time for us now," agrees Hall who flew with his charges to Seoul before transferring to Gyeongju.

"I would say we are in a better position now than we were for the last World Championship in Copenhagen two years ago.

"Everyone is excited by what can happen.

"Most of them are in the medal zone and it's probably the first time we've had that.

"I couldn't discount anyone of them going into the striking zone for the podium."

Stevenson missed the US and German Opens because of difficult personal problems.

However, Hall says Britain's most successful taekwondo player is focused on adding to her European title.

"Sarah has had well documented challenges and issues she has dealt with. But she has done an exceptional job.

"Last week at our training camp she trenched the field, including a European champion from France in a different weight category..

"To see that from Sarah is really refreshing."

There is less expectation with Liverpudlian Walkden who only recently returned to training after knee surgery.

However, just the presence of the bubbly European Championship bronze medallist in the squad is a boost for her team mates.

And Hall can't wait to unleash his squad in taekwondo's recognised birthplace.

"It's the Koreans National sport so they are going to be difficult to beat on their home soil," he agrees. "But we have quality in our team that can beat them.

"The Koreans are under a lot of pressure so let's see how they handle that. We are in good shape with no fears."

However, Hall agrees there is also increased pressure on the Brits, including world number one Aaron Cook.

Hall will nominate the weight categories for London 2012 at the end of May; two for the men and two for the women.

"They all want to be the person going forward to represent Britain at 2012," he says. "Just naming the weight group will be a challenge.

"Sarah is now back with us, Bianca (Walkden) is coming into form and Jade Jones, Youth Olympics champion, is in the mix too.

"So, there are three weight categories there and we have got to decide two. It's going to be tough when we get back.

"All the players know that performance in this world championship is important Performances in the last 12 months will also be taken into consideration.

"But at the World Championship they have got a chance to show they show be that person going to the Olympics."

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