Middlesex student Lutalo Muhammad struck gold in the inaugural World Taekwondo Grand Prix and promised to “dominate” the sport after becoming world number one.
The Olympic bronze medalist and Middlesex Sports Science student won the -80kg final in Manchester, with a dramatic golden point victory over Russia's Albert Gaun.
The victory means he becomes number one in the -80kg category. “My dad wants me to go on and dominate the sport. I’m confident I can do that. I'll work extra hard to stay on top," said Lutalo.
“It was the first time I fought at welterweight (-80kg) since the Olympics and I felt really good. There’s room for improvement but it was a good performance and I’m happy to get the win.”
The much anticipated "grudge match" between Lutalo and Aaron Cook failed to materliase - Gaun defeated Cook in the semi-finals. Lutalo was controversially selected ahead of Cook – who was world number one at the time – to represent Britain in the 2012 Olympics.
“The dual was talked about a lot in the media and it was a packed arena – people came out to see both of us fight. The stage was set. But he (Cook) lost in the semis. We both wanted the fight but I’m sure it’ll happen in the future,” said Lutalo.
With his win and recent successes, Lutalo’s proved his doubters wrong. Having won the European Championships in 2012, Lutalo went on to secure bronze in the London 2012 Olympics. Earlier this year he also became the British champion.
There will be three further Grand Prix events ahead of a Grand Final in 2014. The results from each competition will count towards qualification for the 2016 Games in Rio.
“The US Open is next and I have to defend my European title. There’s also the three other Grand Prix events. It’s a long way away with many tournaments to come, but hopefully I’ll win enough points to qualify for Rio 2016,” added Lutalo.