Fighting Chance's Sansum lands gold in SwedenSubscribe
Grace Cullen 13 February 2013
Former kickboxing world champion and Fighting Chance graduate Damon Sansum claimed his first title of 2013 at the Trelloborg Open in Sweden.
Sansum, a winner of last season's German Open, has since stepped up from -80 to -87kg, and won with a convincing 13-3 final win over Djordje Marcetic of Serbia on Sunday (10 Feb).
In 2009 Sansum was identified through the Talent ID programme Fighting Chance, which was developed by GB Taekwondo in partnership with the UK Talent Team (UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport) and sought martial arts athletes with the potential to be successful in Olympic WTF Taekwondo.
Olympic bronze medallist Lutalo Muhammad was also uncovered through the programme, along with GB athletes Andrew Deer and Reubyn Richards, who now train full time with the GB squad at the National Taekwondo Performance Centre in Manchester.
In addition to Sansum’s gold, GB’s Bianca Walkden won the +73kg category, extending her unbeaten tournament run to four.
Speaking after his victory, Sansum acknowledged that he still has room for improvement: "I probably should have won more medals. I know I am fitter, stronger and more agile than some of the guys who have beaten me in the past. But I am still learning the tricks of the trade. Once I do that I am sure I will be more consistent. That's my goal for the rest of the year."
GB Taekwondo Performance Director Gary Hall said: "We've been very pleased with Damon's progress since he joined the World Class Programme in Manchester. By his own admission it has taken time for him to make the adjustment from Kick Boxing to Taekwondo, but this is his second international 'A Class' gold medal and he is getting better and better.
“It has certainly justified our faith in him and in the Fighting Chance initiative which we hope will deliver more talented athletes in this latest round."
Ian Yates, Senior Talent Scientist with the EIS said: “Following the medal success of Talent ID athletes Helen Glover and Lutalo Muhammad at London 2012, in rowing and taekwondo respectively, it is great to see Damon achieving success on the international stage.
“The talent initiatives have a proven track record in discovering untapped sporting potential and we are looking forward to the next installment, Fighting Chance: Battle4Brazil, getting underway in the coming weeks.”
Fighting Chance: Battle4Brazil, the second nationwide search of its kind, was launched in late 2012, seeking athletes with the potential to make an impact on the taekwondo medal table at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Successful applicants will be trialling in February and March 2013 for the chance to realise this ambition.