Olympic24: Stamper retires to coach while Smith targets Davis Cup defence
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Olympic24: Stamper retires to coach while Smith targets Davis Cup defence

23 December 2015 / 07:54

London 2012 Olympian Martin Stamper is to retire from taekwondo while Leon Smith believes Great Britain can mount a solid defence of their Davis Cup crown regardless of whether Andy Murray is available. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Martin Stamper announces his retirement from taekwondo after missing out on a place in Rio
  • Leon Smith sets his sights to the defence of Great Britain’s Davis Cup title
  • Eilidh Child is targeting an improved 2016 and performance in Rio after a difficult year
  • And there’s also a competition for Team GB fans today

Stamper to turn his hand to coaching

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London 2012 Olympian and former world bronze medallist Martin Stamper will move into coaching the next generation of taekwondo stars after announcing his retirement.

The Liverpool-born father of two was a European Youth runner-up in 2001 and made his senior World Championship debut in 2005.

He went on to win a European silver medal in 2008 before his most productive season three years later as he claimed World Championship bronze in South Korea plus title wins at the US, German and British Opens. 

In 2012 he narrowly missed out on a bronze medal at London 2012 and had hopes of reaching the podium next summer in Rio, but they were dashed when GB Taekwondo selectors picked Mahama Cho to attempt to qualify the +80kg weight division at next month’s European Olympic qualification tournament in Turkey.

"It will be difficult retiring as an athlete but I am excited by the role,” said 29-year-old Stamper, the BOA taekwondo athlete of the year in 2011.

“I feel I can still be competitive but the game has moved on and I haven’t been as consistent as I would have liked. 

“Getting selected for Rio was my big aim. I would have loved to have gone to another Olympics and finish my career on a high I don’t feel like I am ready to give it up as an athlete but I just feel the timing is right.

“But I can’t wait to start work in my new coaching role. I feel like I have been a coach for the last 15 years. It’s been a massive help working under (GB High Performance coach) Steve Jennings in the club at Liverpool Elite and gaining experience.

“Working with the GB Juniors the last year has taken that experience up a notch. But for now I’m looking to spending Christmas with the family and having a couple of weeks off because normally I am in training most of the time.” 

Smith looks towards Davis Cup defence

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Davis Cup captain Leon Smith insists Great Britain are well placed to mount a serious defence of their title next year – with or without Andy Murray. 

London 2012 gold medallist and 2013 Wimbledon champion Murray was influential as Great Britain won the Davis Cup for the first time since 1936 last month, going 11 games unbeaten.

Great Britain will kick off the defence of the Davis Cup in March when they face Japan, with Murray saying he is committed to playing in the first round.

But captain Smith admits this might be easier said than done, not that he is worried though.

"It's a huge challenge. The nature of the competition is it is determined by who plays for each nation in any given year," said Smith.

"It's very, very busy especially for the likes of Andy who is going to be featuring in the latter stages of the biggest tournaments, it's tough to fit it all in.

"We'll see how it goes because once you start in the competition, when these group of players get together, the bond stays pretty close. It's a great feeling.

"The most important thing is we win that first round tie, which brings us into the quarter-finals again and it guarantees World Group status for the following year, which is very important as we try to build on what we have achieved."

Child aims for improved 2016 showing

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Eilidh Child admits she won't be disappointed to see the back of 2015 after failing to live up to her expectations this year.

Scottish star Child enjoyed a year to remember in 2014 as she claimed 400m hurdles silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow before improving to gold at the European Championships in Zurich.

However, she failed to build on those results in 2015 as she finished sixth at the World Championships in Beijing.

She did help Great Britain to a bronze medal in the 4x400m relay but Child insists she is looking to run even faster in 2016.

"A bit mixed to be honest," Child told BBC Scotland when asked to describe her performances this year.

"I would have liked to run a bit faster over the hurdles. I finished sixth in the World Championships.

"If you had said to me a couple of years ago I would be sixth in the world, I'd have taken that quite happily, but I think I've developed quite a lot over the years and I was disappointed not to be on that podium at the World Championships this year.

"I was mainly disappointed this year that I didn't run a personal best, so I'd love to run a PB next year and break my Scottish record.

"I got a medal in the 4x400m which kind of made up for it slightly. I think there's still a lot more to come from the hurdles. Hopefully next year I can go out there and run a bit faster.

"It's exciting to be running well and fighting fit and healthy. Hopefully I can stay injury-free and come out next year and go and do something in Rio."

And don’t forget…

Day 11 of our guess the athlete competition, fans can win £2000 to spend at DFS if they guess correctly, link to the competition is here http://wshe.es/ZDxm7w1e

Sportsbeat 2015