Bianca Walkden: GB taekwondo fighter claims fifth major title of 2017

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Walkden against Ana Bajic in London
Bianca Walkden has made history with her Grand Prix success in 2017

British fighter Bianca Walkden claimed her fifth successive major title of the year with victory at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Ivory Coast.

The Olympic bronze medallist beat South Korea's Da-Bin Lee 16-9 in the final.

World number one Walkden had won the previous three Grand Prix events and claimed the +67kg world title in June.

The 26-year-old from Liverpool is the first athlete from any nation to win all four Grand Prix events in the same calendar year.

"I honestly can't believe I've done it and I'm pinching myself," she told BBC Sport.

"To win all four and the World Championships is hard to believe because I didn't think it was possible at the start of the year as they're the hardest events in taekwondo."

The fighter was competing for the first time since the "shock" departure of her coach Paul Green from the GB Taekwondo programme.

She was instead guided by former team-mate and London Olympian Martin Stamper.

Walkden beat South Korea's Saebom An in the quarter-finals before defeating London 2012 Olympic champion Milica Mandic of Croatia in the last four.

Britain's world bronze medallist Damon Sansum (-80kg) and Max Cater (-58kg) both exited in the round of 16 in their respective divisions.

Double Olympic champion Jade Jones (-57kg) and world silver medallist Mahama Cho (+80kg) will bid for World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final honours on Sunday.

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