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Interview: Lutalo Muhammad delighted with dominant display to win bronze

:Headline: Interview: Lutalo Muhammad delighted with dominant display to win bronze:
Team GB's Lutalo Muhammad speaks to Sports Mole after picking up a bronze medal with a dominant display at the 2015 European Games in Baku.
By , Editor | 4y

Great Britain's Lutalo Muhammad has spoken of his delight at claiming a bronze medal with a dominant display in the men's -80kg event at the European Games in Baku this evening.

Muhammad fell to a heavy quarter-final defeat at the hands of home favourite Milad Beigi Harchegani earlier in the day, but the Azerbaijani's progress into the final ensured that the Brit would get another chance of medalling via the repechage.

The 24-year-old took full advantage with a victory over Damir Fejzic before forcing a win by punitive declaration in the bronze final against Italy's Roberto Botta.

After his victory, an emotional Muhammad spoke to Sports Mole about his performance, some questionable refereeing decisions along the way and GB taekwondo's continued success in Baku.


Congratulations Lutalo, that was a very dominant display. Was that always the plan?

"That was the gameplan. I went out to just take the bronze medal, take it. That was the plan. We had a great plan which I set with [coach] Steve Jennings, and we executed it.

"I knew I could use my power and my strength against him - I'm a bigger, stronger athlete. I intimidated him from the first second. I could tell he didn't want to be in there, and I knew it was only a matter of time before I wore him down. And I took it.

"I have to give credit to the crowd, they did a great job of getting behind me. They weren't behind me for one of the matches, but they were behind me for three of them and I'm so grateful for that, so shout out to the Azerbaijan crowd here in Baku."

You missed last month's World Championships with a knee injury. How did it hold up today so soon after undergoing surgery?

"It held up fine, it held up fine. We did the best with the preparation we did. I did come here to win gold, but I tried my best and I still feel very blessed to be taking home a medal."

You mentioned the crowd being against you in the quarter-final - how difficult is it to fight against a home favourite?

"Of course, it's always difficult to fight against the home crowd. They can influence referees and decisions in the match. There were a few decisions that didn't go my way in the match, but I really don't want to get into that because there are no excuses.

"It's to be expected when you're in a man's home ground. So I don't want to take anything away from him, he fought wonderfully today and I wish him all the best in the final."


There was one headshot in particular that wasn't awarded when your team had used up the video review...

"Yeah I thought there were a couple, but let's not get into that! I tried my best under the circumstances, I gave it my all and left it all on the mat.

"It wasn't all myself, there were so many people behind me backing me. GB taekwondo, best team in the world, [English Institute of Sport] medical have the best set-up in the world, and I have to give credit to all those people, because without them I would not be here."

In contrast to that one-sided bronze final, it was a very cagey affair in the repechage. Do you think that you went into your shell a little after what happened in the quarters?

"Yeah, there are always things to analyse and improve on. It was a cagey affair. He's good! Even though he's a small athlete, he's very good at getting into the close range and forcing a fight. He fought to the very end, so I've got to give him kudos. He is a very, very game fighter."

With Charlie Maddock and Jade Jones picking up golds already it is now three medals in as many days for the team. The atmosphere must be buzzing...

"It's an awesome time to be in GB taekwondo. We're one of the best teams in the world. This is the European Games, this is one of the strongest regions in taekwondo, so winning golds here, like Charlie and Jade did, is incredible. They've done very well. We've still got [Mahama] Cho and Bianca [Walkden] to come tomorrow, so hopefully the medals continue." body check tags ::

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool16151040142646
2Leicester CityLeicester1511223592635
3Manchester CityMan City16102444192532
4Chelsea169253124729
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd166642519624
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs166553023723
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves155822117423
8Crystal Palace166461418-422
9Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd154741715219
10Arsenal154742123-219
11Newcastle UnitedNewcastle155461522-719
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton155371822-418
13Burnley165382129-818
14Everton165291928-917
15Bournemouth164481824-616
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham154471725-816
17Aston Villa154382224-215
18Southampton154381733-1615
19Norwich CityNorwich1532101632-1611
20Watford16169930-219
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