Lutalo Muhammad: GB fighter targets Olympics after French Open taekwondo title

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Lutalo Muhammad (centre)
Muhammad (centre) beat world silver medallist Sansores (right) 16-10

Olympic taekwondo silver medallist Lutalo Muhammad believes he can secure a place at Tokyo 2020 after claiming his first title in nearly four years.

The 28-year-old defeated world championship runner-up Carlos Sansores of Mexico 16-10 in the French Open heavyweight final in Paris.

Muhammad's last gold medal came at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final in Mexico in December 2015.

"I'm ecstatic, this is huge, massive, now I want more," he told BBC Sport.

Since his agonising last-second defeat at Rio 2016 the fighter has suffered a host of injuries which cost him a place at this year's World Championships in Manchester.

"It's a while since I've been up there at the top of the podium and it's not been an easy ride so I'm over the moon and it's a real testament to the work we've done at GB Taekwondo to get me back here," he said.

Muhammad, who claimed bronze at London 2012 and silver at Rio 2016, revealed last year that he was switching from his traditional -80kg division to the heavyweight +80kg class after suffering health problems when cutting weight.

However, his subsequent injury-related absence has handed the initiative to team-mate and rival Mahama Cho in the battle to be Britain's sole representative in the men's heavyweight division come the Tokyo Olympics.

Muhammad is adamant that his French Open win this weekend - where he also defeated London 2012 silver medallist Anthony Obame of Gabon 18-16 in the quarter-finals - proves he is still capable of beating the world's best fighters.

"I have delivered massive success for GB in the past and to do this today puts a massive statement down," he said.

"I've beaten world and Olympic medallists which helps to show that I can go and deliver a third Olympic medal at my third Olympics next year and of course we all know what colour I'm going for!"

Muhammad's next event will be the European Masters Championships in Dubin, Ireland, which runs from 29 November to 1 December.

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC