15 - 19 MAY 2019

MANCHESTER ARENA

Bianca Walkden Eyes World Championships Treble

In exactly 100 days’ time, taekwondo history will be made as Britain hosts the sport’s World Championships for the first time.

Bianca Walkden has added an extra day to her own countdown towards a third world crown in four years.

But the Liverpool heavyweight, who struck global gold in Russia and South Korea, is as excited as everyone associated with GB Taekwondo that Manchester gets to welcome the planet’s best from May 15-19, 2019.

With a home crowd roaring its approval at the Manchester Arena-the largest indoor venue of its kind in Europe-Bianca, 27, is optimistic she can complete a world treble.

For the world number one that would ensure she fulfils a very personal promise to herself.

“No matter where I fight I want to win every time I enter a competition,” said Bianca.

“But there is so much encouragement you can take from a home crowd.

“It doesn’t make you kick any different and it doesn’t change you as a person.

“However, it gives you that extra percentage to make sure you get the win.

“The main benefit is you know everyone is behind you no matter what, plus there is no jetlag which is another bonus.”

Walkden finished 2018 by retaining her World Grand Slam title in Wuxi, China-taekwondo’s richest tournament.

The Manchester-based fighter has used her earnings to invest in a pizzeria, run by her family, opening in her home city on February 28.

But nothing is going to distract from Queen B’s determination to retain her world title-not even the Olympics looming large in Tokyo in 2020.

“Everyone thinks the Olympics are my main goal but Manchester’s World Championships are the main goal.

“The whole year is geared towards winning the world title again.

“I am not thinking about becoming a three-time world champion, I just want to be world champion this year.

“I have not even looked what I am doing after the World Championship. All my focus is on Manchester.”

Bianca opens her campaign on May 16-a significant date in her life.

On May 16, 2015, she became world champion for the first time, winning on the same day her grandfather, Pasqual Discala, passed away.

“I have got all the motivation I need but if I can start well on May 16 and end it the following day by winning another world title, it will be fantastic.

“My hope is if I can do the job and become a three-time world champion and then Olympic champion, I might get on the New Year’s honours list in the future. That’s my plan.”

See Britain’s stars live in Manchester this May. Tickets are available to buy now: click here for more information

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