Bianca Walkden beaten by arch rival Zheng Shuyin in Grand Prix final in Japan

Bianca Walkden
Walkden, 27, won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics

World champion Bianca Walkden took silver at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix final in Japan after a golden-point loss to arch rival Zheng Shuyin in the +67kg class.

It was the first meeting between the pair since Walkden's controversial victory against the Chinese Olympic champion in the World Championship final in May.

There the Briton used unconventional tactics to force Zheng into a series of penalties, which led to her disqualification when leading 20-10.

Walkden led 5-0 after the opening round in Japan, but Zheng levelled in the third to force a decider, where she struck first.

"Obviously I'm never happy if I don't win gold, but honestly it's all a stepping stone towards the Olympics," Walkden said.

"It always is a good fight between us, but none of us meant for it [the rivalry] to happen, but it's there and it'll be there all the way to Tokyo.

"I'm not best friends [with Zheng] but I don't dislike her, we just don't see each other outside of events but it's a rivalry that's happened.

"Come Tokyo hopefully I'll be 100% ready because that's all that matters to me."

Team-mate Christian McNeish impressively defeated three-time world champion Lee Dae-hoon of South Korea 33-26 in the -68kg semi-finals.

However, Iran's Asian Games champion Mirhashem Hosseini proved too strong in the final as he powered to a commanding 36-20 victory.

After the defeat, he said: "I'm happy, I've had bad performances at the world championships but that's over and I've now proved I can perform at a high level so I just want to keep that going and improve more."

Bradly Sinden - competing for the first time since becoming Britain's first-ever male world champion in the sport in May - suffered a last-16 defeat by Brazilian Edival Pontes in the -68kg division.

Olympic silver medallist Lutalo Muhammad will step up his return to the sport after a series of injuries in the men's heavyweight division on Saturday, which will also feature team-mate Mahama Cho.

European champion Lauren Williams will feature in the women's -67kg division and could take a significant step towards qualifying for Tokyo 2020 by winning the event.

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