Haines back with a bang to win National Championships

Ben Haines tops the podium in Manchester at the National Championships
Ben Haines tops the podium in Manchester at the National Championships
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Ben Haines picked up his second national senior title after making a successful return from ankle surgery.

The Great Britain Academy player, from Horndean, won four fights in Manchester to prove himself the best in Britain in the -74kg weight group.

It was his first competition after an ankle injury suffered in training earlier this summer that required an operation to remedy.

Fortunately for Haines, 20, he was able to complete his rehabilitation in time to line up at the Manchester Velodrome and he felt no ill-effects from the injury as he secured a stylish victory.

Haines also lifted the national senior title in 2012 and he was pleased to repeat the triumph, especially after not putting any pressure on himself because of the injury troubles.

He said: ‘I went there with the mindset I wanted to win but I was also hoping my ankle would hold up.

‘The injury happened when I was sparring.

‘You have three ligaments on the outside of your ankle and the back one came away from the bone. Luckily it wasn’t snapped.

‘I went to see the surgeon and a week later I was having the operation. It was a very quick process.

‘Then I had 10 weeks of rehab. It wasn’t the most enjoyable thing I have ever done but it had to be done.

‘At the nationals I didn’t put any pressure on myself because I was coming back from injury but I had no problems with my ankle on the day.

‘I won my first match 7-6, then my second match was against Samuel Jones – who I fought in the final two years ago – and I won 18-0.

‘In the third match I started well and was in control. My opponent got a lucky head shot but I stuck to my A game and got through to the final.

‘I won the final 3-1. It doesn’t sound a lot but I was in control and I wasn’t conceding points.’

It was the biggest National Championships in British Taekwondo history, with 437 competitors and 342 matches on the Saturday.

Haines, who was representing his club British Taekwondo South, is hoping his performance in the nationals will help him secure a wild card for the prestigious WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix, from October 24 to 26, in Manchester.

He has already been selected for the Commonwealth Championships to be held in Edinburgh, in November.

Meanwhile, Haines dedicated his national title to the memory of his grandad Donald Gissing and his uncle Adam Gissing.

He will also be sending his medal to his grandad Michael Masters, who is currently suffering with illness.

Haines said: ‘I did it for them, not just for me.

‘Having the extra motivation can work well and I won that medal for them.

‘My grandad’s birthday would have been in September and it was also the anniversary of when my uncle died.

‘I didn’t meet my uncle but my mum and nan always talk about him and say how much I look like him.

‘I was very close to my grandad. We used to go fishing together but he died when I was quite young.

‘My other grandad has not been well and is in and out of hospital.

‘I will be sending my medal down to him and hopefully it will give him some extra strength.’