Taekwondo: Martin Stamper wants World title after London failure

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Martin Stamper
GB Taekwondo fighter Martin Stamper considered quitting the sport after missing out on a medal at London 2012, but is now targeting success at the World Championships in Mexico.

Britain's Martin Stamper says he almost quit taekwondo after missing out on bronze at last summer's Olympic Games.

Stamper, 26, was defeated 5-3 by Afghanistan's Rohulla Nikpai at London 2012 - a result that hit him hard.

"I was devastated for two or three months. There wasn't a day or hour I didn't think about it," said Stamper.

"I was made up for Jade and Lutalo [Jones and Muhammad, who won Olympic medals], but it was tough them getting all the plaudits and I had missed out."

Stamper, who competes in the -68kg category, continued: "I didn't know if I would continue through to 2016 and was seriously thinking about retiring, but I'm glad I did carry on."

The Liverpool fighter had an incredible 2011, winning 27 of 29 fights heading into the World Championships in South Korea, where he claimed bronze - an achievement he attributed to becoming a father for the first time.

His form since has been a little more inconsistent, but Stamper's confidence has been boosted by victories at the German and Spanish Opens in recent months and he heads to this year's World Championship in Puebla, Mexico targeting further success.

"I know if I fight my best I can top the podium and that's my aim," the 2008 European silver medallist told BBC Sport.

"I would love to be the first British male world taekwondo champion and it would avenge a little bit of disappointment from 2012.

"I wish the Olympics were now because I am feeling like my performances have stepped up another level."

Stamper wins -68kg 2011 World bronze

Manchester was recently announced as the host city for the first Taekwondo World Grand Prix Series event in December of this year and competitions like these and the World Championships will be key to future Olympic qualification.

"With the new ranking system, the Grand Prix will be massive and really important to put your results down because you could automatically qualify [for Rio] if you are in the top eight," said Stamper, who plans to move into coaching after retiring.

"If my results keep going the same way I will hopefully be at Rio 2016 and go further than I did in London and win a medal, which would be a nice way to sign off."