Double medal success for Britain
May 6, 2012 20:01 pm
Olympic hopeful Martin Stamper and fellow Briton Caroline Fisher collected bronze medals on the final day of the European Taekwondo Championships in Manchester.
However, there was disappointment for Bianca Walkden, who suffered a somewhat controversial exit in the quarter-finals.
With the final selection for the Team GB Olympic squad set to be announced at the end of the month, this was the last competition for fighters to lay down a marker. Stamper battled through to the semi-finals of the under-68kgs division, a weight which has been pre-nominated for one of the four categories at London 2012.
However, against stubborn Croatian Filip Grgic, the Merseysider - a bronze medallist at the 2011 World Championships - was caught by a head shot during the final round and went down 6-9. Despite the disappointment of not being able to fight for gold, the 25-year-old remains confident he has done enough to earn a spot on the British Olympic squad.
Stamper said: "I had a tough draw and put a really good performance in, but I wanted to at least get to the final to cement my place for 2012. I am still confident (of selection) because all of my medals have been at under-68kgs. It is now up to the selectors, but I think I have done enough over the last 18 months to put my name forwards for the Olympic team."
Doncaster Scorpion Taekwondo fighter Fisher collected bronze in the under-53kgs. However, the 29-year-old accepts she is unlikely to get the nod for London 2012 as one of the women's weights will be at under-57kgs, where Jade Jones won silver at the World Championships last year, although she could only manage European bronze in Manchester on Saturday.
Fisher, who works for Leeds City Council, said: "It is gutting not to be able to go that bit further and reach the final. Everybody wants that shot at the Olympics and obviously a gold would have been better for me than a bronze, but it just did not happen. Although I have been on the circuit a long time, it does not get any easier when you lose."
Walkden, meanwhile, was disconsolate following her quarter-final exit in the under-67kgs. The 20-year-old GB Academy fighter had dropped down a weight category to stand in for the injured Sarah Stevenson, who is faces a race against time to be fit from a serious knee injury to make the London Olympic squad.
Walkden knew a strong showing here would give the selectors something to think about as they weigh up their options, but after impressing with a golden-score victory over Poland's Kataryzyna Wieczorek, the Briton went out in a controversial bout against Croatian Petra Matijasevic.
Holding back tears afterwards, the 20-year-old said: "I tried to get her disqualified at the end for holding, but I did not get it and now it is over. It was everything to me, the last major championships before the Olympics and I know I should be out there still."
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