British taekwondo enjoyed a successful weekend competing at the 29th Belgian Open Championships with a small team of six athletes winning two gold and two silver medals at the Bloso Sports Centre in Ghent. The Championships operated with the same scoring system to be used in Beijing this summer whilst this weekend’s European Championships in Rome will feature the controversial new electronic points scoring system which even the World Federation has not sanctioned.
Beijing hopefuls Sarah Stevenson (All Stars Taekwondo Club, Doncaster) and Aaron Cook (Scorpion Taekwondo Club, Doncaster) both continued their impressive form by taking gold, which is sure to impress performance director Gary Hall as he gears up to select his three strong Beijing squad next month. Stevenson, who as well as Cook won all of her matches (by the maximum 7 point margin), was delighted with her performance and commented, “I feel in the best shape of my career at the moment and that is certainly timely with Beijing now just over 4 months away. I am hugely positive not just about my own form but of the progress the entire team has made so far in 2008.”
Bianca Walkden (Elite Taekwondo Club, Liverpool) also put in a strong performance winning a senior silver medal for the first time in her career. Walkden, 17, was very happy with her strong showing and said, “I am very pleased with my progress so far in 2008. A senior medal is big milestone on route to my main aim which is to be in contention in London in 4 years time.” Michael Harvey (Aces Taekwondo Club, Manchester) also won silver, losing to Germany in the final whilst Tony Grisman (Kan Han Taekwondo Club, Mansfield) and Tyrone Robinson (Puma Taekwondo Club, Manchester) both performed well only for the athletes to lose out in quarter final matches to France and Russia respectively.
Gary Hall, Performance Director for Great Britain, commented, “It was essential for some of the athletes hoping to go to Beijing to take part as it gives them the opportunity to participate in an event using the same scoring system as Beijing whilst this weekend’s Europeans will feature the new
electronic system. Aaron and Sarah are in fantastic form which is good news as we now reach a crucial period in our preparations but praise must also go to Bianca who performed exceptionally against many older competitors on route to her silver medal."
Due to the introduction of unsanctioned equipment and rules by the European Federation, some athletes will not take part in the European Championships which take place in Rome this weekend. The remaining squad reads as follows:
Romaine Bailey -54Kgs Fusion Taekwondo Club, London
Michael Harvey -58Kgs Aces Taekwondo Club, Manchester
Tyrone Robinson -58Kgs Puma Taekwondo Club, Mansfield
Martin Stamper -62Kgs Elite Taekwondo Club, Liverpool
Davoud Etiminani -72Kgs Fusion Taekwondo Club, London
Craig Brown -84Kgs Fusion Taekwondo Club, London
Adam Corrigan -84Kgs Allen Taekwondo Club, London
Mohamma Cho +84Kgs London
Louise Mair -47Kgs Elgin Taekwondo Club, Scotland
Caroline Fisher -51Kgs Scorpion Taekwondo Club, Doncaster