DONCASTER’S Sarah Stevenson can’t wait to rejoin the Team GB taekwondo squad after the European Championships in the next step of her rehabilitation on the road towards London 2012.
The world champion and Olympic bronze medallist at the 2008 Beijing Games - Stevenson underwent surgery in February to repair cruciate ligament damage sustained at a training camp in Mexico.
The 29-year-old will miss this weekend’s European Championships in Manchester, but has until the end of May to prove her fitness ahead of the final selection for the London team, which will have four fighters: two men and two women.
Stevenson - who overcame great personal difficulties by claiming her world title in Korea last year despite both parents battling serious illness, a fight they eventually lost - remains positive: “My knee is doing really well and I am getting a lot more kicking sessions in now,” she said
“Once the rest of the guys have finished the Europeans, my aim is to be back with them in a couple of weeks’ time, hopefully cooking on gas at 100 per cent.
“That’s the target, but even if I am at 90 per cent for a while and capable of doing most of the sessions with them, I will be happy with that.”
Bianca Walkden is set to drop down a weight to compete at the under-67kgs in Manchester, and will be pressing Stevenson hard for a place on the Olympic squad.
Team GB Taekwondo performance director Gary Hall admitted his elite fighters continue to give him a selection headache.
He said: “It is tough with only four places, but that is also a positive, because you end up with a very strong team for the Olympics.”
Stevenson, now based in Manchester, will pay a visit to her former school, Don Valley, tomorrow week