Middlesex University student Lutalo Massop-Muhammad has been awarded Great Britain’s first gold medal of the European Taekwondo Championships in Manchester.
The second-year Sports Science student triumphed in the -87kg weight division of the four-day competition, which ran from 3-6 May. His 13-4 defeat of world number nine Augustin Bata from France secured Lutalo the top medal.
Lutalo faced tough competition, but successfully defeated Spain's two-time European Champion Jon Garcia Aguado and came back from 10-1 down to take the quarter-final in sudden-death.
This puts Lutalo in a strong position for team selection when the GB Olympic squad is named in late May for which he’s keeping his ‘fingers crossed’.
Lutalo Massop-Muhammad (20) from Walthamstow said: “I’m elated with the result as I’ve been training so hard for this and have visualised this moment for a long time. The morale on Team GB is great at the moment as we had our most successful European performance.”
Lutalo dedicated the win to his father Wayne Muhammad, who has trained him since he was three years old and continues to train others at the Taekwondo Academy in Hackney. “I am so grateful for the support and dedication from my dad. He is an inspiration to me after teaching martial arts for more than 30 years and I now hope to inspire other budding athletes,” added Lutato.
The European gold medallist is among several other Olympic hopefuls at Middlesex University all vying for a chance to represent the UK at London 2012 in a range of sports including fencing, track and high jump.
Lutalo is now seeking sponsorship for future competitions.