Sansum, Booth Boost Britain’s Medal Tally On Last Day Of World Championship Action

World Taekwondo Championships 2015, Damon Sansum, Silver, rights free c-o GBTaekwondo (1)
Deadly duo Damon Sansum and Rachelle Booth earned Great Britain a full set of medals at the WTF World Championships with double success on the final day in Russia.

Super Scot Sansum, 28 defeated former Great Britain team mate Aaron Cook en route to a silver medal in the -80kg division while Booth from Wigan marked her World Championship debut with a battling bronze at -62kg.

Bianca Walkden’s gold medal at +73kg last Saturday ensured a final medal tally of three for the Manchester trained British squad who returned empty handed from the 2011 edition of the Championships in Mexico. In addition, Liverpudlian Walkden was named female athlete of the tournament.

Sansum offered no excuses after his 16-3 final defeat by Iranian Mahdi Khodabakhshi, ranked number one in the Olympic rankings.

“I had a game plan but I conceded a headshot early in the fight and was well behind,” he explained. “I had to chase it but he’s very good, a very clever fighter and I started to rush.

“He used his reach really well and it was hard to get through.It wasn’t the end I’d hoped for but it’s a silver and it gives me something to build on back in training.

“I had all my fights on one day and that’s tough at this level. But I’m in good condition and can’t blame tiredness. He was just much better on the day.”

On his semi-final triumph Sansum added:“It was a great fight and my tactics worked well. Aaron’s a good friend and it’s always a good fight. We both gave it everything.

“I enjoyed having a great fight with no pressure. We entertained and that’s the most important thing.”

Sansum’s last four show down with Moldovan national Cook proved one of the fights of the Championships and was only decided by golden point. However, after a gruelling and emotional day at the Traktor Arena in Chelyabinsk, Samsun couldn’t raise his game again in his sixth and last fight of the day.

Against Cook, the Elgin raised Brit, a European Championship silver medallist in 2014, took a 4-2 lead into the second round. He stretched that advantage to 8-3 before the world number one showed his skills, landing a spinning back kick to claw the match back to 8-7.

The final round was pulsating with Sansum landing high with a hook to the back of Cook’s head to open a four points gap. But Cook wouldn’t lie down, scoring with a combination, a punch and then forcing Sansum to concede a kyong-go penalty, taking the fight to overtime.

Sansum, however, regained his composure, covered well and landed a left foot check to take his place in the final.

Booth, who shook off a late injury scare prior to the Championships, battled through three victories before losing 6-4 against Spain’s Marta Calvo Gomez.

“It’s one thing reaching the semis but I really wanted to go further, to reach the final and get gold and so I’m disappointed with that,” said the 19-year-old Lancastrian fighter.

“But overall I’m satisfied with my performance. She was a tricky fighter and I’m a bit frustrated that I could get out what I wanted to do. But I tried my hardest.

“I’m going back to the gym in Manchester now and work on a few things. Hopefully perfect them before my next big competition.”

Like Sansum, Booth, joined the GB Academy from the UK Sport backed Fighting Chance talent ID initiative  “It’s been really hard making the transition from ITF to WTF since joining from Fighting Chance,” she explained. “But I’ve had great support along the way and a day like this makes it really worth it.

See the world’s best in action at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Manchester on 16-18 October 2015. Tickets now on sale here.

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