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Page last updated at 15:07 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 16:07 UK

GB Taekwondo eye new talent plan

Aaron Cook
Cook put in the most impressive GB performance in Denmark last week

Great Britain's taekwondo team are hoping a new scheme will take those currently not involved in the sport and turn them into 2012 Olympic medallists.

GB returned from last week's World Championships in Denmark without a medal, having set a target of three.

Four GB competitors made quarter-finals but performance director Gary Hall says there is space for new talent.

"We're targeting national champions of other martial arts who already have fight experience," Hall told BBC Sport.

"There is evidence that it can work in a short space of time."

The scheme, called, Talent2012 Fighting Chance, offers combat athletes from all martial arts, the opportunity to try out for the GB elite squad.

"We're disappointed that there weren't medals but we're on the cusp of winning major world medals"

Gary Hall
GB performance director

At last week's World Championships, Dorset's Aaron Cook, 18, put in the most impressive GB performance, only failing to reach the semi-final with a sudden-death defeat.

Cook, who came fifth at the Olympics in Beijing, began his martial arts career in a different form of taekwondo, before switching to the Olympic format, overseen by the World Taekwondo Federation.

"Aaron played really well in his first senior world championships," said Hall.

"In the Olympics there are 16 players so the quality is high but there is not so much quantity. At the World Championships there are 80 players in each division so it's a real marathon."

Meanwhile Liverpudlian Bianca Walkden, Mansfield's Tony Grisman and Londoner Craig Brown all made it into the last eight of their events in Copenhagen.

Just two weeks after undergoing surgery on a broken hand, Olympic bronze medallist Sarah Stevenson lost in sudden death to eventual winner Ying Ying Hang of China in the round of 16.

But to Hall, fact the team no longer has to rely on Doncaster athlete Stevenson for its results is a demonstration of an increased strength in depth.

"We're disappointed that there weren't medals but we've demonstrated the programme is maturing and we're on the cusp of winning major world medals," added Hall.

Hall also believes his team need to spend more time learning new scoring rules - 60% of which have changed since the controversial Olympic tournament - and a new electronic scoring system.

"The smallest of margins made the difference," he added. "But that's sport."

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see also
Taekwondo improves judging system
14 Oct 09 |  Taekwondo
Two more Brits win taekwondo gold
31 Aug 09 |  Taekwondo
What makes a top taekwondo player?
29 May 07 |  Taekwondo
Taekwondo scoring explained
23 Aug 08 |  Taekwondo
Sarah Stevenson's guide to taekwondo
11 Apr 08 |  Taekwondo

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