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Lutalo Muhammad all smiles on return to dad's Stoke Newington gym after Rio Olympics heartbreak

PUBLISHED: 15:48 08 September 2016 | UPDATED: 15:58 08 September 2016

Lutalo Muhammad with children at his dad's Taekwondo gym.

Lutalo Muhammad with children at his dad's Taekwondo gym.

Dieter Perry

He was involved in one of the most heartbreaking moments of recent Olympics, but Lutalo Muhammad was all smiles when he visited his dad's gym in Stoke Newington this week.

"I can’t go anywhere without someone wanting to give me a hug. I will cherish it for the rest of my life"

Lutalo Muhammad

The taekwondo silver medallist was an agonising one second away from gold in Rio when his opponent Cheick Sallah landed a kick to the head, robbing him of the medal.

In a TV interview afterwards Lutalo broke down, saying: “I’m sorry, I don’t want to cry on TV, but I’m so distraught.

“I’m so sorry for the people who stayed up late to watch and cheer me on. I let them down at the last second. I’m so sorry, this is so hard.”

But on reflection Lutalo was rightly proud of his silver medal, an improvement on the bronze he won at London 2012, and was back at The Takewondo Academy in Prince George Road on Tuesday to show it off to the kids.

Lutalo with his medalsLutalo with his medals

“It was absolutely inspiring,” he told the Gazette. “It was the first time I’d been back since Rio and I learnt everything I know here.

“It’s really nice to show the children the fruits of my labour. I was once where they are now. It’s a really wonderful message.”

Touching on the disappointment of Rio, Lutalo said what happened was “devastating” but on reflection he was proud of his medal, and would be looking to complete the set with a gold at Tokyo in four years.

And he also had a message for the British public.

“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone for the way they have embraced me everywhere I have been. I can’t go anywhere without someone wanting to give me a hug. I will cherish it for the rest of my life.

“I’m proud of my medal and proud to be part of Team GB. And I’ll be completing the set in Tokyo.”

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