Muhammad and Sansum earn their stripes with US Open gold

24 January 2015 / 13:02

Damon Sansum and Lutalo Muhammad laid down their statements of intent for 2015 by marking their first appearances of the new year with victories at the US Open in Orlando.

London 2012 -80kg bronze medallist Muhammad moved up to the -87kg category for the competition, but there was still no stopping him as he beat German Yassine Trabelsi for gold.

But there was still British success to cheer in the -80kg event as a late kick to the head earned 27-year-old Sansum a 4-3 final win over Armenian Armen Yeremyan.

There was also success for heavyweight Mahama Cho as he claimed silver, losing out to Nigerian Abdoula Issoufou Alfaga 7-6 in the final.

"I am delighted with the result," said Sansum. "I have worked really hard over the past few weeks to address areas for improvement.

"Work on finding marginal gains will hopefully make the difference between losing and winning at top level taekwondo.

"Last year was good for me but this year is about ironing out any errors, improving strengths and developing weakness to give me the best possible chance to go to Rio.

"I couldn't have asked for a better start to the year and I'm privileged to have such a good team behind me.”

And while 23-year-old Muhammad didn't enjoy the best of results in 2014, he is determined to be challenging for the Rio Olympics at the end of a massive year for the Manchester-trained squad.

"It's brilliant to start 2015 with a bang," said Muhammad. "Five hard fights but great coaches helped to see me through it."

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