Great Britain Taekwondo star Ben Haines pleased with strong performances

Ben Haines, right, in action. Picture: GB Taekwondo
Ben Haines, right, in action. Picture: GB Taekwondo
Gosport Borough won 1-0 in their match against Dunstable this afternoon. Picture: Keith Woodland

Gosport Borough get first victory of season

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Ben Haines is aiming to build on a series of powerful performances on the international stage.

The Great Britain athlete has just returned from the Austrian Open where he reached the quarter-final stage.

Some strong performances saw him progress in the competition before he was edged out in the last eight by the second seed from Egypt.

It was a good experience for Haines, from Horndean, who was fighting up a weight at -74kg, after recently competing more regularly at -68kg.

He said: ‘It was quite a good weekend in Austria. It’s a lovely place. I’d never been there before.

‘I was quite happy with how I performed in my first match against Serbia.

It was good to get a silver medal in Turkey. That went to plan

Ben Haines

‘Then I was up against a player from Montenegro who I had never fought before.

‘He was quite strong. He wanted to fight and was quite aggressive.

‘The referee was making bad decisions on my part but I stuck to my plan. It was getting to me a little bit but you have to take it on the chin.

‘If you lose your cool you will lose the match.

‘He probably got about six points in the last round and it finished 13-12.

‘It was a bit of a close call. The score said it was quite close but it shouldn’t have been.

‘Then in my quarter-final I was up against the second seed. I was ranked seven because I haven’t been fighting at the weight.

‘I was looking forward to fighting him. In the first round he scored three points on my blind side.

‘We came up with a plan to stop him and to start scoring back on him and I managed to even the scores.

‘It was close but he went on to win 7-5.

‘It wasn’t the result I wanted but I was quite pleased with my performance.’

It’s been a busy time for Haines, who has also had competitions in Spain, Turkey and Egypt.

Winning a silver medal in Turkey was the high point before he was struck down with gastroenteritis and put on a drip when out in Egypt.

Haines added: ‘It was good to get a silver medal in Turkey. That went to plan.

‘I beat players from Denmark, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Belgium and Germany on the way to the final.

‘Then I went to Egypt and had a nasty illness. I still wanted to compete and had nothing to lose after being ill.

‘I lost 7-6 in my first match but it didn’t go too badly considering.’

Back at Great Britain headquarters in Manchester, Haines has been training hard and is now looking ahead to the Australian Open next up.

His target is to improve on his world ranking to work towards securing a place in the prestigious Manchester Grand Prix.

He added: ‘My aim is to get to the top 35 to put me in the Grand Prix spots.

‘I have been working on the mental side as well as the physical side in training. It’s going well.’

Ben Haines national champion - report here