Lutalo Muhammad came through a repechage to win a third taekwondo medal for Great Britain at the European Games in Baku tonight.
The ‘Walthamstow Warrior’ added bronze to his London 2012 bronze with victory over Italian Roberto Botta.
Muhammad’s podium finish followed on for girl power, gold medals for Charlie Maddock and Jade Jones.
And the Manchester trained squad could finish with a nap hand of medals as world champion, Bianca Walkden, and Mahama Cho are in action tomorrow (Friday) on the final day of the taekwondo competition.
Muhammad’s medal came just five weeks after knee surgery threatened to end his chance of competing in Azerbaijan. It forced him to miss last month’s World Championships in Russia and put his European Games place in jeopardy.
However, as he did at the Olympics three years ago, Muhammad overcame the disappointment of a quarter-final exit to fight his way back into contention. He defeated Serbia’s Damir Fejzic, surviving a rollercoaster final round, to claim an 8-7 win.
Then, with a medal riding on his clash with Botta, Muhammad held his nerve to beat the former European Youth gold medallist for another major prize.
“There were times when there was doubts over whether I would make it,” he admitted after collecting his medal.
“The fact that I am here and able to compete with the best in the world is great. I really wanted to get a gold medal for everyone that supported me.
“I tried my best under the circumstances and a bronze medal will have to do.
“My dad used to say things like champions get up when they can’t. And I managed to turn it all around after losing out to the Azerbaijan athlete and was going to get that bronze medal no matter what.”
Muhammad started the day with an emphatic 16-4 victory over Teodor Georgiev lost 17-5 against home favourite Milad Beigi Harchegani before fighting his way back for a medal.