Cho relishing Manchester return
11 October 2018 / 15:35
Nothing can keep Rio Olympian Mahama Cho and his irrepressible enthusiasm away from the Taekwondo mat.
The 29-year-old is fresh from a six-month lay-off, recovering from an Achilles injury, but made a successful comeback when he took bronze at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Taiwan in September.
But Cho – despite the ebullient confidence he has in his own abilities – was unequivocal when asked whether he had been expecting to medal on his return.
“Hell no!” he said. “I surprised myself, which doesn’t happen often. It was really good and I was really blessed and fortunate to realise that even with less preparation I can still overcome.
“Really and truly I was going out to see where I’m at and what I’m capable of doing, but I never underestimated the fact that I could actually go all the way.
“The closer you get to the medal stages, the more hungry you are, the more you want it. Your frame of mind changes match by match and that’s what happened.”
For the Great Britain team, it was a successful championships, with Damon Sansum also medalling.
With the Olympic cycle ever-progressing and the Grand Prix series well into gear, a healthy spirit in the camp is important.
And Cho cites the camaraderie amongst the group as a key factor not only in their successe, but in his personal rehab process as well.
“I love being around my team,” he continued.
“Every single morning when I come in it’s a blessing to be around everybody who are so enthusiastic, talented and hard-working.
“When you’re surrounded by that it pushes you even more. I’m really grateful and blessed to be around such amazing people.
“You come in you want to be the best, obviously and they’re going to push you – that’s what it’s like here.”
Up next for Cho and his teammates is the Manchester Grand Prix, which gets underway on 19 October.
It will be a special occasion for the Londoner, who won his first Grand Prix event in the city five years ago, in doing so announcing himself on the international stage.
And while he knows that Manchester will be another step on the path to his ultimate goals – becoming world and Olympic champion – Cho is nevertheless relishing the opportunity to compete in front of a home crowd.
“I never set targets, I just tell myself to perform to the best of my abilities and if I do that it will get me to where I want to be,” he added.
“First and foremost, my goal is to go out there and do my absolute best, do what I’ve been doing in training and represent the country the best way that I can.
“The players are really gearing up, they’re excited to fight in-front of a home crowd – mums, dads, uncles, cousins, you name it, they’re all going to be there – they’re going to want to put on a good performance.
“It’s going to motivate us even more – the home crowd will give us an advantage, and hopefully we can come away with good results.”