Great Britain will be close to full strength when they head for Paris this weekend for the French Open, the last major international of the year. GB will feature their combined squad of Academy and Talent athletes with only Jordan Gayle and the recently married Sarah Stevenson missing the event.
Spearheading the team will be British International Open gold medallists Aaron Cook, Tony Grisman and Bianca Walkden, all looking to repeat their recent success at Sportcity Manchester.
World No. 1 Cook (Dorset), returning to competitive action after a short break, leads a strong male team which includes Grisman (Mansfield), heavyweights Mahama Cho (London) and Damon Sansum(Wales), Ruebyn Richards (Nottingham) and Andrew Deer (Wrexham) and, in the -68kg category, Martin Stamper (Liverpool) and Mancunian Michael Harvey.
In the female competition, Liverpool’s Walkden heads a team that also features the Youth Olympic gold medalist Jade Jones (Flint) who will be looking to bounce back from a quarter final exit in Manchester. Completing the team are Lauren Price (Caerphilly) and Sophie Dickson (Liverpool).
Gary Hall, Sport Taekwondo UK’s Performance Director said: “We’ll be looking to finish off the year on a high and repeat the strong showing at the British Open. That said it’s important to recognise that Aaron (Cook) and a couple of our players have had a break from training after the British and so may just need this event to get back into full swing as we go into 2011.
The French Open itself is always a strong competition and it will give some of our younger athletes some valuable championship experience ahead of what is going to be an important 6 months in the lead up to the World Championships.”
Greek Nikolaos Tzellos will be looking to avenge his defeat against Cook in this year’s European Championship with old rivals Mamedy Doucara and Mauro Sarmiento also competing in Paris. In the +80kg category, Cho and Sansom could face Croatia’s Vedran Golak and Italian Leonardo Basile whilst European champion Servet Tazegul from Turkey and silver medallist, Croatia’s Filip Grgic provide the main challenge in the men’s -68kg division.
European silver medallist Anne Caroline Graffe from France and recent British Open runner-up, Holland’s Reshmie Oogik will provide stern opposition for Bianca Walkden. In the -57kg female category, the British trio of Jones, Dickson and Price face also face experienced campaigners in Croatia’s Ana Zaninovic and Israeli Bat El Gatterer.
Full squad for the French Open, 27th November 2010:
+80 kg Mahama Cho, Damon Sansum
-80kg Aaron Cook, Andrew Deer, Ruebyn Richards
-68kg Tony Grisman, Michael Harvey, Martin Stamper
+67kg Bianca Walkden,
-67kg Lauren Price
-57kg Sophie Dickson, Jade Jones,