Tragedy at Luxor Open Despite Victory for GB taekwondo

Although it was a tragic Saturday at the Luxor Taekwondo Open, organizers decided the event could continue with London 2012 bronze medallist, Muhammad, and Nottingham born Richards the pick of some outstanding performances.  A spokesman for GB Taekwondo offered sincere condolences to Seyithan Akbalik's family.


Lutalo Muhammad and Ruebyn Richards claimed gold medals at the Luxor Open in Egypt but all victories were over shadowed by the death of Turkish athlete Seyithan Akbalik, reported GB Taekwondo.

“It is really sad news and hard to put into words,” said Muhammad who defeated GB Academy team mate, Damon Sansum, to win the -80kg title.

“My thoughts go out to his family. I think I speak for everyone on the GB team who fought after what happened that every fight was dedicated to him.”

“However, all the Turkish team made it quite clear he would have wanted us to fight on.” Akbalik, 20, who competed in the -63kg division, suffered a suspected cardiac arrest after his competition last Sunday.

A spokesman for GB Taekwondo added: “It is a sad time for the sport and on behalf of the GB team, as well as British Taekwondo and its members; we offer our sincere condolences to the family of Seyithan Akbalik and all those close to him.”

Despite the tragedy, organizers decided the event could continue with London 2012 bronze medallist, Muhammad, and Nottingham born Richards the pick of some outstanding performances by a strong GB squad.

Manchester based Muhammad’s thrilling win takes him to within touching distance of the world number one spot while Sansum also collected valuable ranking points plus a last 16 win over Beijing Olympian, Aaron Cook.

“It was tough because no one knows you better than someone you train against every single day,” said ‘Walthamstow Warrior’ Muhammad of beating former German Open champion, Sansum.

“I am really happy with the win but also that it was an all GB final. It shows as a team we are dominating the world.

“It would be amazing to be number one,” agreed the World Grand Prix champion from Manchester last December. “It’s like a video game; you’re always trying to move up the rankings.

“I am getting closer to the number one spot so I just want to keep on winning tournaments and cement a top six ranking place for Rio.”

Richards hasn’t always enjoyed the best of fortunes since joining the Academy after being recruited as part of the UK Sport backed talent identification programme, Fighting Chance, in 2010.

But the 21-year-old, controversially denied a medal at last year’s World Championships in Mexico, showed his capabilities and his versatility by winning the ultra-tough -68kg weight division.

Richards has previously fought at -80kg and -74kg but looked a -68kg natural as he won five fights including a 10-3 final success over home favourite, Ghofran Zaki.

In total, Britain’s squad finished with 10 medals including silvers for: Sansum. Olympic gold girl Jade Jones (-57kg), Jordan Gayle (-63kg) and 2013 World Grand Prix champion, Mahama Cho (+87kg).

Next stop for many of the team is the United Arab Emirates and a first ever participation in the Fuijairah Open taking place from February 22-23.






Dominic Brookes (Manchester)

First round: bt Fuatcan Aldemir (Turkey) 14-10

Second round: bt Mohamed Elsergany (Egypt), sudden death (25-25)

Quarter-finals: lost to Elsaid Shawky (Egypt) 13-1

Gurpreet Singh (Forest Gate, London)

First round: bt Toko Vanza Dieu (Congo) 11-6

Second round: lost to Elsaid Shawky (Egypt) 19-7

Darren Chapman (Northampton)

First round: lost to Samir Javadli (Azerbaijan) 11-3



Jordan Gayle (Manchester)

First round: Ahmed Ayman (Egypt) 9-4

Quarter-final: bt Panta Jure (Slovenia) 10-5

Semi- final bt Martin Stamper (Great Britain) 11-3

Final: lost 4-3 to Jaouad Achab (Belgium)

Michael Harvey (Manchester)

First round: bt Bader Al Waheeb (Kuwait) 8-2

Quarter-final: walkover Mehmet Evez (Turkey)

Semi- final: lost to Jaouad Achab (Belgium) golden point (6-6)

Martin Stamper (Liverpool)

First round: bt Umut Bildik (Turkey) 6-1

Quarter-final bt Youssef Youssef (Egypt) 12-5

Semi- final lost to Jordan Gayle (Great Britain) 11-3



Ruebyn Richards (Nottingham)

First round: bt Berkat Akyol (Turkey) 9-6

Second round: bt Filipino Grgic (Croatia) 12-2

Quarter-final: bt Raiha Chin (France) 5-4

Semi- final bt Jose Atencia (Spain) 6-5

Final: bt Ghofran Zaki (Egypt) 10-3

Ben Haines (Portsmouth)

First round: Bye

Second round: bt Viacheslav Storchak (Ukraine) 9-6

Quarter-final bt Daniel Barrera (Spain) golden point (6-6)

Tony Stephenson (Bury)

First round lost to Jean Francois Sarr (France) 5-4



Andrew Deer (Tamworth)

First round: bt Giresse Tshimanga (Democratic Republic of Congo) 7-5

Quarter-final: walkover Okan Simsek (Turkey)

Semi- finalist to Ilkin Shahbazov (Azerbaijan) 8-6

George Lee (Lewisham)

First round: lost to Okan Simsek (Turkey) 9-7.



Danny Dowling (Exeter)

First round lost to Cem Unlusoy (Germany) 15-4

Lutalo Muhammad (Walthamstow, London)

First round: Bye

Second round: bt Mohamed Maher 15-3

Quarter-final: bt Piotr Pazinski (Poland) 9-7

Semi- final bt Ramin Azizov (Azerbaijan) 7-5

Final: bt Damon Sansum (Great Britain) 12-9

Tom Smith (Poplar, London)

First round: Bye

Second round: lost to Mamedy Doucara (France) 11-9

Damon Sansum (Elgin)

First round: bt Mahmoud Fathy Said (Egypt) 15-2

Second round: bt Aaron Cook (Isle of Man) 22-21

Quarter-final: bt Mamedy Doucara 20-8

Semi- final: bt Maksim Rafalovich (Uzbekistan) 14-12

Final: lost to Lutalo Muhammad (Great Britain) 12-9



Mahama Cho (Abidjan)

First round: Bye

Second round: bt Dmitriy Shokin (Uzbekistan) 7-5

Quarter-final: bt Stergios Roidis (Greece) 6-1

Semi- final: bt Volker Wodzich (Germany) 8-3

Final: lost to Mohamed Ayman (Egypt) 3-1

Lyle Walker (Law, Lanarkshire)

First round: Bye

Second round: lost to Abdelrahman Elhendi (Egypt) 15-3

Murdo Mackenzie (Inverness)

First round: Bye

Second round: lost to Omar El Yazidi (Egypt) 9-1





Georgia Barnes (Southampton)

First round: bt Patricia Striner (Sweden)

Quarter-final: bt Patimat Abakarova (Azerbaijan) 4-0

Semi- final lost to Lucija Zaninovic (Croatia) golden point (6-6)



Jade Jones (Flint)

First round: Bye

Quarter-final: bt Seyma Tuncer (Turkey) 10-1

Semi- final: bt Nikita Glasnovic (Sweden) 8-4

Final lost to Hedaya Wahba (Egypt) 10-7

Nicole Huntington (Ipswich)

First round: lost to Nikita Glasnovic (Sweden) 9-4



Rachelle Booth (Wigan)

First round: lost to Nina Klae (Switzerland) 8-5



India Isles (Perth)

First round: lost to Darya Ishchenko (Russia) 4-1

Taylor Shaw (Scarborough)

First round: Bye

Second round: lost to Farida Azizova (Azerbaijan) golden point (3-3)



Stephanie Allen (Battersea)

First round lost to Lada Philippova (Russia) 12-6

Bianca Walkden (Liverpool)

First round bt Rajher Nusa (Slovenia) 5-4

Quarter-final: lost to Gwladys Epangue (France) 6-4.

Seyithan Akbalik Team


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