Dutch Open silver medal is tonic for Haines after injury

Ben Haines, right, with Bianca Walkden after the Dutch Open
Ben Haines, right, with Bianca Walkden after the Dutch Open
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Ben Haines picked up a silver medal on his return to competitive action for Great Britain.

The Dutch Open in Eindhoven saw some of the nation’s best athletes on show.

Haines, from Horndean, was fighting a day before his 23rd birthday and he did well after year out with injury.

He finished runner-up in the under-74kg final to London 2012 Olympian Damir Fejzic of Serbia.

That took Britain’s overall medal tally to five after double gold on Saturday for Jade Slavin (-73kg) and Peter Longobardi-Radford (-68kg).

Haines, a 17-10 semi-final winner over Eduard Drewlau of Germany, was delighted with his podium placing.

He said: ‘I haven’t competed since last season’s European Championship because of a knee injury so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

‘A year is a long time when you can’t do what you love.

‘It kills you inside watching everyone else train.

‘But injuries are part of the sport and you have got to get on with it.

‘It’s how you deal with the injuries.

Haines was a golden point winner over Belgium’s Nicholas Corten in the last 16 and will take plenty of positives after a very good return to action.

He added: ‘The final performance wasn’t great but you live and you learn.

‘He’s beaten me every time we have met but I will be more confident next time.

‘I tried my best and after reviewing the fight I am sure we can rectify things.

‘However, overall things went well.’

Meanwhile, World Champion Bianca Walkden suffered her first defeat of 2017 as she also had to settle for silver.

The Rio 2016 bronze medallist lost 8-6 in the heavyweight final to Turkish rival, Nafia Kus.