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World Taekwondo Championships: Bianca Walkden win leaves Zheng Shuyin in tears


By Nick Hope

BBC Olympic sports reporter

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GB’s Walkden claims controversial world title win

Bianca Walkden secured her third successive world taekwondo title after a controversial finish to the women’s heavyweight final in Manchester.

Walkden trailed 20-10 in the closing stages against China’s Shuyin Zheng but the Olympic champion was forced into a series of penalties and disqualified.

“It’s not how I wanted it to go, but a win is a win,” Walkden told BBC Sport.

Bradly Sinden became GB’s first-ever male world taekwondo champion with victory in the -68kg final.

Double Olympic champion Jade Jones remains on course to claim the first world title of her career after reaching the -57kg final with a 18-12 victory over Canadian Skylar Park.

History maker would do the same again

Zheng Shuyin of China was left distraught on the podium

Booing drowned out any cheers from British fans as Walkden was announced as the winner of the women’s heavyweight final and Zheng refused to acknowledge the Briton’s victory before sensationally collapsing on the podium and leaving the competition area in tears.

Walkden is now Britain’s most successful World Championships fighter, eclipsing the two titles won by the now retired Sarah Stevenson in 2001 and 2011.

The manner of her victory via disqualification is not uncommon in the sport but rarely happens in major finals.

Walkden capitalised on Zheng’s defensive style with brutal aggression which repeatedly pushed the Chinese fighter off the mat. Although some will question the ‘sportsmanship’ Walkden showed, she fought within the rules.

She was in tears herself as she took to the podium amidst a chorus of boos but was defiant in her post-fight interviews, insisting she would use the same tactics again.

“Obviously it wasn’t nice [to hear the boos], but I never gave up and was going to die out there fighting for the win, which I think showed,” said Walkden.

“I did what I had to and I’m now a three-time world champion, which they can’t take away from me.”

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Sinden becomes Britain’s first male world taekwondo champion

Sinden has joined compatriots Walkden and Stevenson as a world champion.

The 20-year-old, who claimed bronze at the last World Championships when he was just 18, had eliminated the defending champion, South Korea’s Dae-hoon Lee, in the semi-finals on Thursday.

As a result he was the favourite against Javier Perez Polo, but the Spanish fighter pushed him close in a 24-21 win.

“We’re all so proud of what the GB women have achieved because we’re a team, but I’m delighted to do this for the boys,” he told BBC Sport.

“It’s amazing, a dream come true and hopefully next will be Olympic gold.”

In addition to Jones’ -57kg final, day four of the championships will see European gold medallist Lauren Williams and 2017 world bronze medallist Damon Sansum begin their bids for further honours.

Shuyin Zheng of China was left distraught on the podium

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