Athletes who were discovered during a pioneering nationwide talent search have won medals at the Taekwondo World Championships in Russia.
Damon Sansum won silver in the -80kg and Rachelle Booth won bronze in the -62kg at the WTF World Championships, having both initially trained in different martial arts.
Fighting Chance was run by GB Taekwondo in conjunction with UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport (EIS) in 2010 and again in 2013, and sought talented athletes with the potential to be successful in WTF Olympic taekwondo.
Former world kickboxing champion Damon Sansum was one of the original graduates of Fighting Chance, joining the GB Taekwondo Academy in 2010 alongside fellow graduate of the programme, Olympic bronze medallist Lutalo Muhammad.
After winning a dramatic semi-final on golden point, Sansum lost out 16-3 in the final to Iran's Mahdi Khodabakhshi.
Rachelle Booth, 19, trained in a non-Olympic style of taekwondo (TAGB) from the age of seven, but has only been training in WTF taekwondo since joining the Manchester-based GB Taekwondo Academy in October 2013.
She reached the semi-final, but went down 6-4 to Marta Calvo Gomez of Spain.
Speaking afterwards Booth said: “It’s one thing reaching the semis but I really wanted to go further, to reach the final and get gold and so I’m disappointed with that.
“But overall I’m satisfied with my performance. She was a tricky fighter and I’m a bit frustrated that I couldn’t get out what I wanted to do. But I tried my hardest.
“It’s been really hard making the transition from ITF to WTF since joining from Fighting Chance. But I’ve had great support along the way and a day like this makes it really worth it.”
Head of Performance Pathways for the UK Performance Pathways Team (UK Sport and EIS) Stewart Laing said: “It is fantastic to see both Damon and Rachelle as Taekwondo World Championship medallists 15 months out from the Rio Olympic Games.
“Both came through Fighting Chance and during the multi-phase assessments demonstrated the potential to excel in WTF Taekwondo. They have both thrived within the strong performance culture at GB Taekwondo, working alongside top coaches and support staff at the Elite Training Centre in Manchester, and their achievements in Russia are remarkable.
“This continued success of athletes who are identified, transferred and confirmed later in their sporting careers emphasises the importance of the Performance Pathway Team’s work.”
The Championships were one of the most successful ever for GB Taekwondo, with three medals, after Bianca Walkden became only the second Briton in history to win a world gold medal earlier in the event in the -73kg.
UK Sport and the EIS have collaborated on more than 12 talent identification programmes since 2007 which have discovered London 2012 Olympic medallists Helen Glover and Lutalo Muhammad and Sochi 2014 Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold and more than 68 athletes who have made international appearances, winning 188 medals.