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Interview: Mahama Cho eyes changes after early exit at European Games

:Headline: Interview: Mahama Cho eyes changes after early exit at European Games:
Mahama Cho tells Sports Mole that something needs to change following another early exit from a major championship as he crashes out at the preliminary stage in Baku.
By , Editor | 4y

Great Britain's Mahama Cho has admitted that something needs to change following his early exit from the men's +80kg event at the European Games in Baku today.

Cho was seeded third for the final day of taekwondo action at the Games, but suffered a surprise 10-5 defeat to Konstantinos Gkoltsios of Greece in the preliminary round.

Gkoltsios's subsequent quarter-final loss at the hands of Croatia's Vedran Golec ended any chance of an appearance in the repechage, leaving Cho with a second disappointing performance at a major tournament in the space of a month, following May's World Championships.

After his fate was sealed, the 25-year-old spoke to Sports Mole about what went wrong, where he goes from here and what the defeat means for his 2016 Olympic hopes.


Can you sum up how you're feeling right now?

"What's the word I'm looking for? At the moment I'm going through a phase, shall we call it that? Performances haven't been going my way, I just need to readjust and think about what I need to do differently, if there's something I need to change in the planning.

"Now we're just going to get some time alone and think about how I'm going to move on to the grand prix season."

Is this, coupled with what happened at the World Championships, a bit of a wake-up call for you?

"Yeah. We're halfway through the season and the other half is yet to begin, so right now it is a bit of a shock to the way we've been performing lately. At the moment, any type of game that we need to add to our training, we need to adjust to it right now before the grand prix season begins.

"It's not over yet, there is still work to do, but I'm definitely going to head back home and reflect on what's been going on and see what needs changing."

Do you know what needs to change now, or is that something for you to analyse when you get back?

"That's something we need to look into regarding the planning that we've got, regarding what's coming up, regarding the training base as well - what do I need as a heavyweight? So I think we're just going to get back on board with the staff and keep working and see what we need to do for the next phase."

You were expected to win that preliminary bout today - what do you put the defeat down to?

"I'm asking myself that question. Sensation was great, I felt good going into it, but I think as soon as I went a couple of points behind I was kind of confused at what I needed to do to get the points back.

"It kind of shows with the previous performance that there's been a pattern of what's been going on for the last couple of months. That's something to work on, so we definitely need to address that and try to minimise it as much as possible for next season."


So over the next month or so it's just a case of looking to get it right?

"Absolutely. We've still got 200 points to play for. Ranking points are still there to catch up on, so now we're going to look ahead and see what tournaments we need, or if I need more training camps or more test matches in the gym. We're going to have to sit down and really dig deep and see what needs to be done."

How big a blow is this for your Rio ambitions?

"It's 40 points, 40 points gone to a miss. I was really hoping for the Greece guy to go through - if he went through that would have gained me a chance to actually fight for the repechage, but unfortunately he didn't. We're going to have to rethink about our next tournament and see what points we can scrap out to get in that top six before the end of the year."

Right now are you feeling optimistic about the rest of the season and beyond?

"Confidence levels need to build up towards that, but I still have faith in my ability regardless. I never doubt that. But emotion is definitely going to be high because you always want to be in top form and trying to medal as much as you can wherever you go.

"Unfortunately these things happen, you're going to go through a phase where you're going to have a bad period, and it's how much you're going to work to get yourself back up again, and that's what I need to do right now."

It's been a disappointing day, with Bianca Walkden also being knocked out in the quarter-finals, but on the whole it has been a successful Games for GB taekwondo with Charlie Maddock and Jade Jones winning gold, as well as Lutalo Muhammad's bronze yesterday...

"Yeah, absolutely. It's a phenomenal team that has come out here to Baku, only seven players and we've obviously got three medals. As you can see, the development of the team is great, we're improving every year as players and athletes, and personally as a person as well.

"You can tell that the staff are working really hard with us and just for it being a set-up like the Olympics, if we're able to dominate the European continent here then I definitely think we can do well in 2016 as well." body check tags ::

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1Liverpool16151040142646
2Leicester CityLeicester1511223592635
3Manchester CityMan City16102444192532
4Chelsea169253124729
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd166642519624
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs166553023723
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8Crystal Palace166461418-422
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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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