Jordan Gayle impressed on his return to competition this weekend, winning -68kg bronze in his first competition since returning from injury, at the Taekwondo Austrian Open.
It was a significant achievement for the 19-year-old, who has endured an injury-plagued 18 months and had last medalled internationally at the Paris Open in late 2009.
Jordan saw off the challenge posed by Slovakian Ondrej Cehlar (11-2), Viktor Jankovsky of the Czech Republic (3-2) and -63kg world silver medallist Konstantinos Konstantinidis of Greece (8-3), in the quarter-finals. His winning run came to an end with a close fought 9-7 defeat to the eventual winner, Jure Panter from Slovenia.
Speaking of Jordans success, GB Taekwondo performance director Gary Hall said:
“We are really pleased to see Jordan returning to competitive action following a long rehabilitation period.”
“To achieve what he has after so long out following surgery is incredible, so we’re extremely delighted he’s brought back a medal.”
Speaking before the competition, Jordan said he had been desperate to return to the mat.
“Having missed out on the World Championships I’m obviously keen to get back into competition and I’ve been working really hard in training,”
“I’ll do the same at the Nationals [18-19 June] and then I’ll focus on winning the British Open in October,” said the Manchester fighter.
Jordan’s -68kg category was recently selected by British Taekwondo for inclusion at the 2012 Olympics. The sole place in that category place will be keenly contested as Britain boasts three other leading fighters.
“Tony Grisman, Michael Harvey, Martin Stamper and Jordan Gayle all have the potential to take that place, they won’t make it easy for us, but it’s a great position for the British team to be in,” Gary Hall told BBC Sport.Tweet