Walkden eyeing up Tokyo gold after making British taekwondo history

Bianca Walkden admits a gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is already at the forefront of her mind, after the relative disappointment of a bronze in Rio inspired her to make history at the taekwondo World Championships in Muju.

The 25-year-old became the first GB Taekwondo star to defend a World Championship crown, following up her gold medal from two years ago in Russia with further glory in South Korea.

Believing it was a gamble to lay everything on the line once more, Walkden dominated the final to defeat American Jackie Galloway 14-4 in the +73kg category.

That completed what was a sensational week for the Liverpudlian, though with a top spot on the Olympic podium thus far alluding her, there is no time to rest on her laurels with a big three years on the horizon.

"I am just so happy," said Walkden, who defeated home favourite Saebon An 9-3 in the semi-finals. "I am buzzing and it definitely hasn't sunk in yet.

"I didn't think it would be that fluent if that makes sense. They were difficult opponents but I felt really composed.

"And my gamble has paid off.  I took off my gold medal (from 2015) and treated this as though it was double or quits. And I came back with double.

"I was devastated after Rio. And it's still a goal I need to get in Tokyo."

The chance of a World Championships hat-trick is set to come in two years’ time in Manchester for Walkden, though GB Taekwondo are far from done and dusted in Muju.

Heavyweight Mahama Cho is also through to the semi-finals of the +87 category, guaranteeing him at least a bronze medal, after defeating European gold medallist Arman-Marshall Silla.

He now faces Grand Prix Final medallist Roman Kuznetsov in Thursday’s semi-final, safe in the knowledge he is just one win away from guaranteeing himself a world silver medal.

Jade Jones will also be in action on Thursday, as the double Olympic champion makes her bow in the -57kg category,

But it wasn’t to be for Rio 2016 silver medallist Lutalo Muhammad on his return to the mat, as he lost out in his comeback competition.

That was despite defeating Grenada’s Fronzie Charles 36-1 in his opener, going on to lose to Smaiyl Duisebay from Kazakhstan in the last-32.

Sportsbeat 2017