Great Britain taekwondo star Ben Haines lands Australian Open medal

Ben Haines. Picture: GB Taekwondo
Ben Haines. Picture: GB Taekwondo
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A last-minute decision to travel to Australia paid off as Ben Haines picked up a bronze medal for Great Britain.

The taekwondo star was in good form to win two of his three fights in Melbourne.

It got sorted out two days before and I saw that as an opportunity. I thought ‘I’m going to grab this’

Ben Haines

He produced an emphatic 11-1 success in his first match against Australian Jesse Campbell.

Haines then beat an old adversary from France, Raihau Chin, 8-4 as he stepped up his bid for glory.

That guaranteed him a medal, booking a tough semi-final clash with Hun Kim, a world silver medallist from Korea.

It was close with Haines edged out 2-1, denying the 21-year-old, from Horndean, the chance to fight for gold.

But overall it was progress for Haines, who was pleased to grab the opportunity.

He made the trip with GB team-mates Max Cater, Martin Stamper and Lutalo Muhammad.

‘It got sorted out two days before and I saw that as an opportunity,’ said Haines.

‘I thought “I’m going to grab this”.

‘The result didn’t go my way in the semi-final but I was able to take the positives out of the match.

‘I was pretty happy with my performance in the competition.

‘It was a high standard, so it was a nice feeling to get a medal.

‘Four of us went out there from Great Britain.

‘We had a good team spirit there and we were all helping each other.’

With no GB coaches making the trip, the athletes took on the roles when they were not competing.

Haines enjoyed the experience and felt the coaching assistance from his colleagues was very positive.

‘The first match I had was against Australia and the support he had from the crowd was insane,’ he added.

‘Martin Stamper was with me and he just said “focus on playing your game”.

‘The crowd helped spur my opponent on a bit and that made it a good match. I enjoyed it.

‘I won that 11-1 – it was quite convincing in the end.

‘My second match was against Frenchman Raihau Chin, who had beaten me twice before so I was looking to get my revenge.

‘Lutalo and I came up with a game plan for how we were going to play it.

‘We were looking to take out his strengths.

‘We watched him in his first match when he knocked out the number one seed and looked at what tactics he used.

‘I won that match 8-4 and it was a good result.

‘The plan in the semi-final was to take out the Korean’s strengths and play my top game.

‘It was 0-0 in the first round and Lutalo gave me encouragement and belief.

‘In the second round I conceded two points to the body.

‘I was chasing him high and he picked up two sneaky points against me.

‘I got a point back to make it 2-1 and then I had him under so much pressure.

‘He didn’t really want to fight. I was pushing him back but didn’t get the extra point – that’s the way it goes sometimes.’

Next for Haines is the Korean Open later this month.