World Champion Walkden Hungry For More Success

Bianca Walkden, World Taekwondo Championships FINAL, 2015 160515, rights free courtesy of GB Taekwondo (4)
Bianca Walkden has secured one world accolade in 2015 but is determined to end the year with a couple more.

So, the remaining three WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix, including a Manchester leg from October 16-18, are crucial to her plans for global domination.

Liverpudlian Walkden became Britain’s second only world champion back in May, pushing her up the Olympic qualification rankings.

The top six in their respective weight divisions qualify a place for their nation at next summer’s Rio Olympics.

Walkden’s WGP bronze medal in Russia earlier this month took her to fifth spot in +67kg. It’s a fine achievement by the 23-year-old particularly as she missed last year’s Grand Prix series due to the second major knee injury of her career.

“As is stands, it is good enough for Olympic qualification,” she confirms. “But anything can happen in this sport and I know that better than most.

“So, I want to push on and get up higher if I can. I’d like to get to number one.”

Walkden was ranked second in the world five years ago before the first of her knee issues put the brake on her career. Now, she’s world champion and looking to find the consistency of performance shown by her team mate and Olympic champion, Jade Jones.

That’s why the remaining three Grand Prix tournaments are so important to her ambition, particularly after ‘only’ taking bronze in Moscow.

“I am gutted I didn’t get gold and lost in sudden death,” she says. “It is such fine margin but it was the difference between bronze and another title.

“On the positive side I am getting back to form after my knee issues. I feel I am getting better, both in training and in competitions.

“I constantly work on strength and conditioning and my rehabilitation. It is a pain in the bum but it has to be done.

“I need to stay on it because I missed most of last year while Jade is miles ahead with her points because she is so consistent.”

Despite her world champion status Walkden remains hungry for more success. “I always want to change because someone will catch you up eventually.

“We train every day to get better; to try new things, to be the best. You want to make sure you are the one that is ahead.

“There is no extra pressure on me because I am world champion. I have always wanted to win from the start whether I was world champion or not.

“It’s great when people come up to you and say ‘you are world champion’ That’s when you get the buzz.

“But I can’t dwell on it because I want to win the next one. Hopefully, I can win in Rio next year and people can say ‘you are Olympic champion.”

*The second leg of the Grand Prix circuit takes the planet’s best to Samsun in Turkey from September 18-20 before Manchester hosts event three at the Regional Arena, Sportcity from October 16-18.

To catch Jones and Co fighting on home territory for the last time before next year’s Olympics, take in the action at Manchester’s edition of the World Taekwondo Grand Prix this October.Tickets are now on sale at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/wtgp

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