Taekwondo: Search for Rio 2016 Olympians

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
The Road to Rio begins as GB Taekwondo and UK Sport launch 'Fighting Chance: Battle for Brazil'

UK Sport is hoping to find the next Olympic taekwondo champion with a new 'Battle4Brazil'external-link programme.

Jade Jones, 19, won gold at London 2012, with Lutalo Muhammad, 21 - who was discovered in a similar project in 2009 - taking bronze.

The UK Sport scheme aims to identify whether talented youngsters from other martial arts have the potential to succeed in Olympic taekwondo.

Jones said: "My experience at London 2012 was incredible."

She added: "I'm so happy the sport is receiving more interest, but I want to see this grow and continue in the lead-up to 2016."

Jones battles to taekwondo gold

Jones, who made the transfer from the non-Olympic Taekwon-Doexternal-link discipline, added: "I made the switch because the Olympics is just an amazing goal to try to achieve and that's why people should sign up."

Muhammad utilised 'Fighting Chance' to aid his progression to senior level, just over three years before the London Games.

"I was involved in the sport since I was a child," Muhammad told BBC Sport. "I've ended up being the first British male to win an Olympic taekwondo medal so it's a great opportunity for athletes."

GB Taekwondo are keen to expand their national academy from 16 fighters with up to 10 additional recruits.

"There are more than a million martial artists in the UK and many could move across to a national standard in taekwondo and be successful," said GB Taekwondoexternal-link performance director Gary Hall.

"Talent transfer and identification is massively important for all sports as you're looking for people who can win European, world and Olympic medals.

With Jones' gold adding to Sarah Stevenson's 2011 world title and recent successes for Bianca Walkden at the Croatian and Swiss Open championships, British women are leading the way in the sport.

However, Stevenson hopes the latest scheme will help boost female participation numbers further.

"Unfortunately not too many girls came through last time and we don't have too much depth," she said.

"I really want more girls to sign up and get involved in my sport because if we had the depth and sparring partners then I think we would get even more results."