22 August 2021
Para Taekwondo World champion Matt Bush withdraws from Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
Matt Bush, the reigning world Para taekwondo champion, has been forced to withdraw from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with injury.
The 32-year-old Welsh heavyweight had been due to fly to Japan this weekend with ParalympicsGB teammates Amy Truesdale and Beth Munro, in readiness for Para taekwondo’s Games’ debut next month.
Instead, Bush suffered a recent ACL injury during training and had to withdraw on medical grounds.
With permission from the International Paralympic Committee, Londoner Joe Lane, who just missed outright qualification earlier this year, will take up a place in the K44, +75kg division.
And Bush immediately endorsed Lane’s inclusion as well as confirming his determination to overcome his personal heartache.
“I know a lot of people were behind me in my pursuit of gold and I’m sorry to them that I wasn’t able to achieve it this time,” said the former international javelin thrower.
“But I ask them to continue the support and direct it to the rest of the team that are pushing on for gold at the Paralympics, especially encouraging Joe Lane who has taken my place to go for gold.
“I am truly disappointed to be removed from competition at Tokyo on medical grounds.
“Along with GB Taekwondo medical staff, I’d returned myself to an incredible level of movement given the severity of the injury.
“But it was deemed to be a 100% risk of further, more severe injury if I’d been able to compete.
“I choose to view bad news as an opportunity. An opportunity to test mental strength or learn more about yourself and the people around you.
“I’m incredibly grateful for the GB staff and coaches who helped me as much as possible and will help me build back up for Paris 2024.”
Bush became Britain’s first male Para taekwondo world champion in 2019 and now has set his sights on defending his title later in the year.
For London-born Lane, his 11th-hour selection is the fulfilment of his own dream to appear at the Paralympics.
The 22-year-old began his sporting career in amputee football before transitioning to taekwondo after its elevation to Paralympic status.
“I am absolutely gutted for Matt because I know how much he was looking forward to competing at Tokyo 2020,” said Lane.
“I will be doing everything I can to make the most of this chance to bring back a medal for Matt and the country.
“Knowing how determined Matt is, I am sure he will get over the disappointment and come back stronger and more determined.”
GB Taekwondo Performance Director Gary Hall said: “We are grateful to the IPC for allowing us to make this change at such a late stage and to ParalympicsGB for ratifying the selection.
“Matt has worked so hard for five years to achieve his dream but has seen it disappear due to injury.
“He did everything he could and wanted to fight on. But we had to make the decision that was best for him and the team.
“While it is sad for Matt, it is a great chance for Joe to step in and show what a very capable athlete he is.
“Matt is a big character and I know he is already looking to achieve future goals, including the defence of his world title.
“And Matt being Matt, will be made up Joe has this opportunity to showcase his own talents.”
ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe said: “Matt will be sorely missed in Japan and I am deeply sorry that he will be unable to show the world his incredible talent on the Paralympic stage at Tokyo 2020. However, I know Matt has the strength of character to bounce back from this disappointment. I wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back in action soon.
“With the disappointment of Matt’s injury comes a tremendous opportunity for Joe Lane, who narrowly missed out on selection earlier this year. I am delighted to be able to welcome Joe to the team and have no doubt that he will grasp this opportunity with pride and determination.
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