Muhammad thanks father after bronze win

11 August 2012 / 00:15

Taekwondo fighter Lutalo Muhammad dedicated his Olympic bronze medal to father Wayne and the support of Team GB after battling to a place on the under-80kgs podium at ExCeL.

Muhammad made the last eight before he was beaten by eventual finalist Nicolas Garcia Hemme, which handed him a chance of redemption through the repechage.

The 21-year-old - raised just a few miles away in Walthamstow and trained by his dad from an early age - seized his opportunity to beat Iran's Yousef Karami and then blasted past Arman Yeremyan of Armenia with a succession of trademark headkicks to land Britain's first male taekwondo bronze, which came 24 hours after gold for Wales teenager Jade Jones in the under-57kgs.

Muhammad said: "My dad was in the crowd, and I am pretty sure I heard my mum screaming her head off.

"My dad has taught me since I was three. All those times I wanted to go out, when I was 16 or 17, but he told me 'no, go to the gym'. I resented it a bit then, but I am grateful now, so thanks dad."

He continued: "We don't normally get a second chance, and there was no way I was going to lose this opportunity.

"My coaches told me 'this bronze is now your gold medal, so you have to treat it as a final and go for it.' That got me in the right state mentally.

"Bronze is not the colour I wanted, but it was hard earned, so I am very grateful to have this reward and hopefully next time, I can go two further to get that Olympic gold medal".

There was, however, disappointment for Sarah Stevenson earlier in the day.

The bronze medallist in Beijing had won the world title last year for a second time, before then suffering a serious knee injury. Despite making a remarkable comeback to fight in London, the 29-year-old lost to Paige McPherson in the first round. The American went on to win bronze through the repechage.