August 30 - Michael Harvey (pictured) elighted the crowd at the Manchester Regional Arena today by striking gold in the British Taekwondo International Championships, joining Sarah Stevenson on top of the podium.

In a highly competitive draw featuring 33 athletes, Harvey impressed throughout, ultimately taking the gold medal against French opponent Stevens Barclais.

The contest started at a good tempo with both athletes attempting several kicking combinations despite each having already played five matches.

Harvey, a 19-year-old from Hyde, who placed seventh in the Beijing Olympics, won the silver medal in the 2008 event went one better this ultimately taking the victory 7–3.

Harvey said: “He beat Martin [Stamper] in the semi final so I was given a few pointers which helped out.

"Everything went to plan in the final and luckily I didn’t have to deviate too much from the tactics we had set out.

“I felt pretty comfortable with the new electronic scoring and it didn’t effect me too much.

"Obviously there will be a few kicks that don’t register but I think it’s the same as before when some things weren’t seen.

"I’m looking forward to using them again at the Worlds’ in October.

“I enjoyed competing in this tournament again and it’s nice to have a home crowd. I seem to do pretty well in Manchester so let’s hope it continues next year."

In the same weight category, Jordan Gayle was disappointed with his quarter final loss against Spain’s Javier Marron Jimenez, adjudged to have made an illegal contact to the face and disqualified despite leading the match 12-4.

The female +73kg final, a domestic match up between Liverpool's Bianca Walkden and London's Stephanie Allen saw a tightly contested repeat of the 2008 final.

Once again it was Walkden who took the gold, winning 4–2.

She said: “Stephanie has definitely improved since we met last year and whilst I was attacking well in the first and second rounds, she came back a bit in the third."

Andrew Link, the operations director of Sport Taekwondo UK and Chairman of the European Taekwondo A-class committee said: “After two days of great taekwondo action in Manchester, I have to congratulate the medallists and thank all those attended for making the event a success once again.

"We saw the high quality of matches that we had expected from a strong international field and the experience will have been beneficial to all of our British athletes.

"With the World Championships coming up in October, it was an important part of our preparation for the team to feature in a tournament as competitive as the British Championships."

The World Championships in Copenhagen, which are due to start on October 9 and run through until October 19, will use the same new electronic scoring system which was employed at the British Championships.

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