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Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Tuesday, 22 May 2007 16:49 UK

Beijing setback for GB taekwondo

By Mark Barden

Sarah Stevenson
Stevenson has undergone surgery on her damaged hand

Britain's taekwondo players are to take stock after failing to win a medal at the World Championships in China.

Their disappointment was compounded by the fractured hand suffered by 2005 silver medallist Sarah Stevenson.

Performance director Gary Hall told BBC Sport: "We didn't get the medals we'd hoped for, but some of our performances against top players were world class.

"Our focus is now on putting things right for this September's Olympic qualifying tournament in Manchester."

Hopes were high for British success in China, but Hall revealed the team's build-up had been disrupted by two senior coaching departures.

"Final preparations ahead of any major event are critical - ours wasn't ideal and consequently we came up short," he said.

We know where we made mistakes and will take steps to ensure they don't happen again in Manchester

Gary Hall

"We were not in a situation where we were losing by massive margins, and we can take away a lot of positives from the event.

"But some of our guys were having problems in the last quarter of their matches and that quarter is all about those final prepations."

Hall said Stevenson's injury, suffered in the first round, would not threaten her participation in Manchester.

"I think she'll be back and firing on all cylinders by then, as will the whole team.

"We've recruited three great new coaches recently and we're going to assess what the problems were in Beijing and work hard to put them right."

Despite the team's failings, Hall said there were still stand-out performances.

Farren Cummins
Cummins, 15, made a promising senior GB debut

"Davoud Etiminani reached the quarter-finals in a field of 78, and only lost out to one of the top seeds on a referee's decision.

"Craig Brown fought America's twice-Olympic and now three-time world champion Steve Lopez and ran him very close."

Hall added that he took heart from the fact the team's average age is only 19.

"Aaron Cooke, who's 16, faced Hadi Saei, Iran's two-time world and current Olympic champion, and was only defeated 10-7. People cannot believe what he's achieving at such a young age."

He also had praise for Farren Cummins, who made her senior GB debut in China.

"She faced a Greek player in the first round and only lost on sudden death. For a 15-year-old fighting a seasoned senior it was a fantastic display.

"Five of the team will still be eligible to fight at the European Juniors in October and this experience will stand them in really good stead."



see also
Cummins playing leading role
18 May 07 |  Other sport...
Stevenson leads British challenge
18 May 07 |  Other sport...
Britain appoint taekwondo coaches
16 Apr 07 |  Taekwondo
Taekwondo success for Team GB
30 Mar 07 |  Other sport...
Stars for 2012
21 Jan 07 |  Olympics 2012


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