Olympian Mahama Cho returns to the mat for the first time since his Rio 2016 agony as part of Great Britain’s six-strong squad at the World Taekwondo Federation World Grand Prix finals in Azerbaijan this weekend.
The ‘Stockwell Slayer’ was the only taekwondo member of Team GB to miss out on a podium placing.
And he’s looking for redemption in Baku as part of a formidable GB team.
“I feel fantastic and really looking forward to it,” says heavyweight Cho beaten by Azerbaijani favourite, Radik Isaev, in the semi-finals of the +80kg division.
“It’s been a while since I was last on the mat but I am g oing into the competition with a strong mind set, preparing the best I can and focusing only on myself.
“Always when you come from a defeat you want to correct that,” agreed Cho of his Games near miss. “I know I was close but I know I can do much better.
“Even though I didn’t win a medal actually qualifying for Rio was a highpoint of my year alongside winning the European qualifying tournament in Turkey.”
Olympic gold medallist Isaev will be among the favourites for gold in Saturday’s competition. But avenging his Rio disappointment isn’t uppermost in Cho’s mind
“I don’t think in that manner,” he insists “I don’t fear my opponents because I have fought them before.
“There will be opponents from the Games who I have fought before and others who I haven’t met. It will be an interesting tournament but nothing new.”
The climax to the taekwondo year sees 128 top ranked athletes, fighting in four female and four male weight categories.