Yorkshire’s Bradly Sinden will bid for world taekwondo gold medals on Friday night after battling through his semi-final in Manchester on Thursday night.
Twenty-year-old Sinden scored a stunning 24-23 win over South Korea’s three-time world champion Lee Dae-hoon to reach his first world final having claimed bronze on his debut two years ago.
If Walkden’s progression was expected given her recent dominance of the women’s +73kg category, Sinden’s win over one of the sport’s true stars underlined the extent of his emergence.
Sinden had ended Lee’s two-year unbeaten record when he beat him in the World Grand Prix finals in December, and he overcame a significant second-round deficit to repeat the feat in front of his home fans.
Sinden, who will face Javier Polo Perez of Spain for -68kg gold, said: “It is an amazing result - I knew I could beat him like in the Grand Slam but I knew it would be a really difficult fight.”
Sinden was forced onto the back foot from the start by the Korean’s unerring accuracy and when he trailed by five points early in the third round it looked a task too far.
I believe in my fitness, I believe what I do in training and I push myself to do everything I can do.Bradly Sinden
But the Doncaster fighter surged back and the lead switched sides three times in the final 10 seconds with Sinden emerging on top when the clock ran down.
Sinden said: “I have done a lot of big comebacks and he is hard person to do it against. But I believe in my fitness, I believe what I do in training and I push myself to do everything I can do.”
Double defending champion Bianca Walkden eased past Mexico’s Briseida Acosta 19-9 to set up a revenge clash with China’s Zheng Shuyin, who had denied her a place in the Olympic final in 2016.