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By Oscar Maung-Haley
Team GB’s first Olympic Taekwondo medallist, Manchester’s Sarah Stevenson, is backing a host of Brits to secure Tokyo-Games glory this summer.
Stevenson, who won bronze at Beijing 2008 in the +67kg category, represented Team GB at four summer games, appearing in Sydney, Athens, Beijing, and London.
And the 38-year-old thinks the current cohort of taekwondo stars, spearheaded by double Olympic gold medallist and Manchester-based Jade Jones, have a great chance at Tokyo success.
“I think we’ve got some incredible athletes going to Tokyo,” said Stevenson.
“Obviously, we have got Jade whose star, a double Olympic gold medallist and is going for her third.
“It’d be the first time anyone in Taekwondo history could win three golds which would just be an incredible achievement and I believe she can definitely do it.
“We’ve also got Bradley Sinden who’s a world champion and he could not doubt do it on the day and Bianca Walkden too, who’s a god in the heavyweight category.
“I think this is the strongest chance at the Olympics to do well and bag a few medals.”
Having been to four Games, and claimed world, European and Olympic success during her impressive career, Stevenson has seen it all.
And alongside the triumvirate of Jones, Sinden and Walkden, Doncaster-born Stevenson also believes Mahama Cho and Lauren Williams will also be in the running for a Tokyo medal.
“Alongside those three, we’ve also got Mahama Cho and Lauren Williams who are both incredible athletes,” said Stevenson.
“They’ve got all the techniques in the bag and while Lauren’s only 22, I think she could really surprise everyone and get a medal.
“My husband Steve coaches Mahama and he is just the nicest person you could meet.
“He’s always giving back and it’d be so nice to see his time come around in Tokyo.”
Stevenson was speaking at the unveiling of a mural commissioned by Purplebricks Home Support campaign in Deansgate, Manchester.
The campaign brings Team GB and Purplebricks together to emphasise the importance of home support for athletes thousands of miles away during Tokyo 2020 through art inspired by local children’s designs.
Spread out all over the country, the art relay consists of 10 different murals in 10 different cities across the UK.
And after seeing the work put in by street artist Alex Altona in collaboration with the kids at Stanley Grove Primary School, Stevenson was effuse in her praise of the campaign.
“I think the Home Support campaign is absolutely fantastic,” said Stevenson.
“Obviously when you are away from home for that long, getting all the support from home is an amazing feeling.
“This year it’s going to be a bit different of course with all the restrictions in place which is why it’s so important to show these athletes that they’re being backed by everyone at home.
“I’m really excited to watch everyone out there and I’m sure everyone at home will be too.
“I can’t wait to watch them go out to Tokyo and absolutely smash it.”
Sarah Stevenson is working with Purplebricks to encourage the nation to get behind Team GB on their journey to Tokyo, with the same amazing home support as London 2012. Visit @PurplebricksUK or https://www.purplebricks.co.uk/team-gb