Bianca_Walkden_2November 28 - Bianca Walkden struck gold in Paris as Great Britain's taekwondo team grabbed a four-medal haul in the French International Open.

In a one-sided final, British Open champion Walkden beat her rival and local favourite, France's Anne Caroline Graffe, 6-0 in the +67kg.

Walkden, who has risen to number two in the world this year, gave a confident display as she progressed smoothly through each round and it seemed that a victory in Paris was never in doubt.

"That's three down and one to go," she said.

"To win in Paris after getting gold in Beijing and again at the British is fantastic and I now want to finish the year in style by winning in Moscow next month."

The Paris event is one of only a few on the international circuit which replicates the weight categories of the Olympic Games, providing the British team with a solid platform as they build towards the World Championships Korea next May and then on to London in 2012.

World number one Aaron Cook took a silver medal when falling just short against Ramin Azizov of Azerbaijan 6-9 in the -80kg Final.

Cook, not long back in training after his recent British Open success, was visibly disappointed but delivered a number of strong performances during the course of the event and should go into the New Year in confident mood.

Mahama Cho also picked up silver and though he failed to retain his +80kg title, eventually losing 2-6 against Ali Sari of Turkey, he will take heart from a storming run to the final including beating teammate Damon Sansum in the semis.

Cho was happy with his overall performance, saying: "The target was to retain the title but sometimes you've got to lose to learn and hopefully next time I'll do a better job.

"It was fun taking on Damon in the semi final and I'm sure he'll be gunning for me when we next meet."

Sansum collected his first senior medal and, in doing so, underlined the success of the GB Talent programme.

Sansum, a former kickboxing world champion who graduated from the Fighting Chance programme earlier this year, was delighted by his run.

He said: "It's a big achievement to get a medal after only around six months with the team.

"I wanted to do this and didn't know how realistic it would be to medal but I pulled it out of the bag."

Jade Jones battled through to the quarter finals before meeting her match in the experienced Croat, Martina Zubcic.

In a fast-paced and high scoring match, Jones put up a sterling effort in going down 15-20 and proved that she can more than look after herself in senior company.

Gary Hall, Sport Taekwondo UK's performance director, said: "I'm delighted with the team's performance and the progress that is being made, as demonstrated both in Manchester and again here in Paris.

"Bianca's win shows how confident she is after success earlier in the year and I'm particularly pleased for Damon and the squad.

"We showed ambition in launching the Fighting Chance programme earlier this year and that decision has been vindicated by the performances here this weekend.

"Damon, especially, hasn't had long to make the transition from kickboxing to top class taekwondo but has real potential and we're all proud of his achievement."

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