Walkden and Sinden create history in Manchester

Walkden and Sinden create history in Manchester

17 May 2019 / 21:16

History was made for Great Britain at the Taekwondo World Championships in Manchester as Bianca Walkden sensationally claimed a third straight world title and Bradly Sinden took his first.

Long-time world No.1 Walkden, who took the World Championships title in both 2015 and 2017, faced off against Shuyin Zheng in the +73kg division and came out on top with her Chinese opponent disqualified.

Meanwhile Sinden, just 20 years old, becomes GB Taekwondo’s first-ever male able-bodied world gold medallist, defeating Spain’s Javier Perez Polo 24-21 (-68kg).

In further good news for the home team, double Olympic champion Jade Jones will contest Saturday’s -57kg final as she overcame Canada’s Skylar Park 18-12 in the semi-final.

After her triumph, Walkden attributed her win to determination: “I genuinely did earn it in a different way.

“I was going to give my soul to try and come out with a gold medal.

“If someone asked me to do the whole fight again, I would go out there and do the same fight again because I am standing here as world champion.”

Walkden, who had defeated Mexican rival Briseida Costa 19-9 in her semi-final, had only Zheng left standing in her way of a hat-trick of titles – the same opponent who beat the Liverpudlian in the Rio Olympics semi-finals in 2016.

Walkden, 27, fell behind 20-10 to the Olympic champion in the bout but changed tack and with her opponent disqualified the GB star celebrated that history-making third straight world crown - the Tokyo 2020 Olympics can’t come soon enough.

The home crowd roared with applause but there was still more success to come as Yorkshireman Sinden headed to the mat having stunned South Korean great Dae-Hoon Lee 24-23 in the penultimate round.

The 2017 World Championship bronze medallist from Doncaster fought out a topsy-turvy affair against his Spanish opponent but found himself 24-19 up heading into the final seconds, conceding two late points but holding on to claim the match.

It was a stunning win for Sinden, who follows in the footsteps of another Doncaster-raised taekwondo star - former double world champion Sarah Stevenson.

Now, eight years after Stevenson gained her second gold, Sinden climbed on top of the podium.

“It must be something we drink in Doncaster,” smiled Sinden after his win. “We are certainly a force to be reckoned with.

“Sarah showed me I could do what I wanted if I put my mind to it. But it’s a credit to my mum on how she raised me and kept me on the right track.

“I might be kicking off at home saying I didn’t want to go to training after a bad comp. She would just say ‘okay’ but obviously knew I would because I loved the sport too much.”

Jones was the first of the three British wins in the evening session and will face Ah-Reum Lee in Saturday’s final, with the South Korean getting the chance to defend her title after beating China’s Lijun Zhou 15-12 in a close contest.

Jones, who won gold at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics, makes it to her second World Championships final after coming through an incredibly close encounter against 19-year-old Park. 

Sportsbeat 2019