Bianca Walkden is among the leading fighters named on Great Britain’s 15-strong team to compete at the World Taekwondo Championships in Manchester next month ©Getty Images

Bianca Walkden, Jade Jones and Mahama Cho are among the leading fighters named on Great Britain’s 15-strong team to compete at the World Taekwondo Championships in Manchester next month.

For Liverpudlian heavyweight Walkden, the event provides a chance for her to make it three successive world gold medals while double Olympic champion Jones still awaits her first after silver eight years ago and bronze in 2017.

"We train in Manchester, this is where GB Taekwondo and the national academy are based and to try to make history in front of my family and friends at a World Championships and to spread a bit of magic on home soil is amazing," Walkden told insidethegames here.

Walkden's most notable competitions on home soil to date have been World Taekwondo Grand Prix events, held in Manchester and London in recent years.

"They are really big competitions and every time we’ve had them in Manchester or London it’s been phenomenal and the crowd's support does give you a boost," she said.

"You do want to dig a bit deeper because everyone is there supporting you and if it gives you one per cent extra then, hopefully, it can take me to the top and I can become a three-time world champion."

There has never been a British male world champion, though Damon Sansum, also included on the team, holds under-80 kilograms silver from 2015 and bronze from 2017 while heavyweight Cho finished runner-up at over-87kg in Muju in South Korea two years ago.

Bradly Sinden, an under-68kg fighter, is unbeaten in 2019 and is being tipped to be more than capable of improving upon his global bronze medal from 2017 when the World Championships are held at Manchester Arena from May 15 to 19.

Lutalo Muhammad, twice an Olympic medallist, has fought sparingly in the past 12 months and is still getting to grips with his step up to the under-87kg weight division.

However, the 27-year-old usually reserves his best displays for the big events and it is expected the desire to add a first World Championship medal to his collection will spur him on.

Young prospect Mason Yarrow is the only member of the eight-strong men’s squad making his senior World Championships debut, competing at under-54kg.

Josh Calland, who made his bow in Chelyabinsk four years ago at under-58kg is selected again, this time at under-63kg.

Completing the men’s line-up are Hassan Haider and Christian McNeish at under-58kg and under-74kg, respectively.

Double Olympic champion Jade Jones will be looking to secure a first world title next month ©Getty Images
Double Olympic champion Jade Jones will be looking to secure a first world title next month ©Getty Images

In the women’s squad, Scottish prospect Jordyn Smith was a Cadet World Championship medallist in 2015 and then three years later stood on top of the podium at the Junior World Championships in Hammamet in Tunisia.

Maddison Moore was a bronze medallist at the 2019 US Open while Aaliyah Powell, a 2018 Junior World Championship gold medallist, and Scottish heavyweight Rebecca McGowan are also included at senior level for the first time.

McGowan, who will only celebrate her 19th birthday after the tournament finishes, has enjoyed an outstanding sequence of recent results to earn selection.

The teenager, narrowly missing a medal at the World Grand Slam, produced a series of outstanding results to capture the US Open title in Las Vegas last March.

Completing the women’s squad is Welsh star Lauren Williams, a two-time junior world champion and while still only 20, is one of the favourites in the under-67kg weight division.

The ferocious fighter has already won the President’s Cup title in Antalya in Turkey this year and last December became only the second British fighter to capture the World Grand Slam title and £54,000 ($71,000/€62,000) first prize.

This year marks the first time the World Championships have been hosted in Britain with GB Taekwondo fighters looking to better their record tally of five medals in 2017.

"The squad is a great combination of experienced, in-form, new and developing athletes, all super-excited to be taking part in a historic World Championships in their own back yard," GB Taekwondo performance director Gary Hall said.

"We believe we have a strong squad to do it justice.

"If they all hit form it should be a great championship for GB Taekwondo.

"We have a target of three to five medals and we feel we are capable of winning three to five.

"But make no mistake, despite the Olympic Games being the pinnacle of this sport, the World Championships are so difficult to win because it is stacked with depth and quality.

"However, we know how to win and we have proven it in the past. We will be utilising all that experience to get the best results possible."

Walkden is confident the team can improve on the previous record.

"We’ve got a strong team – we’ve got myself, Jade and Lauren coming up," she told insidethegames.

"With the boys, we’ve got Lutalo, Cho, Bradly, who is an up-and-coming fighter, and Christian and Damon who has won World Championship medals.

"Because it is in Manchester, hopefully people can use home advantage.

"We just have to turn up, do our thing and, hopefully, win some medals.

"There’s so much investment going into the next generation, pushing up the next development camps and, hopefully, we’ll see a future champ rising in Manchester.

"I do think there will be a few people.

"I’ve got my eye on Jordyn Smith.

"She’s an up-and-coming future champ and she won the junior worlds not long ago, and I reckon she’ll surprise everyone."