Hall keeps fighters focused
August 7, 2012 15:37 pm
British Taekwondo performance director Gary Hall feels keeping his elite fighters fully focused and away from the "hive" of the Athletes Village as long as possible can only help in their quest to deliver Olympic medals later this week.
Although Sarah Stevenson enjoyed a brief visit to the Olympic Park when she read the athletes' oath at the opening ceremony, it has very much been business as usual for the four-strong squad up at their training base in Manchester, before moving into the Team GB holding camp at Loughborough.
The Olympic Taekwondo competition kicks off on Wednesday at ExCeL, but there will be no British involvement until Thursday when Wales teenager Jade Jones and Liverpudlian Martin Stamper will be in action, with Stevenson and Lutalo Muhammad fighting 24 hours later.
The squad only arrived at the start of this week and will be training at Langdon School in Newham. It is a carefully managed programme which Hall feels will give the best chance of delivering Olympic success.
"Seeing what has been going off in London and around Team GB, it is really exciting to be here and Taekwondo are now ready to play our part," Hall told Press Association Sport.
"Preparations have been going really well in Manchester, fortunately we have stayed injury free and have had some great sparring partners. When we moved into Loughborough it was a really calm camp which went very well. Now we are in this last phase where it is just going through the official things, like weigh-in ahead of the start on Thursday."
Hall added: "It would have been pretty draining if we had brought them in a few weeks ago because it is a hive of activity down here and you can lose focus quite quickly. It has been a good plan put together by the whole team and it has been delivered - we are prepared to beat everybody."
Jones is first up in the women's under-57kgs on Thursday, when the 19-year-old from Flintshire will be out to add to her silver at the World Championships last year. Stamper will compete at under-68kgs, where he will be seeded fourth and so the draw towards the medal fights could open up.
Hall said: "Jade is one of those characters who when the pressure is on, she knows how to fight, and we have got four guys who can do that. There is a medal in each one of them, although like lottery numbers, I can't do predictions.
"At the end of the day, the thing we can control is getting them best prepared. They have prepared really well for this and are looking forward to the challenge. One thing we can guarantee is they are going to perform and do their very best."
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