Britain's World Championship silver medallist Mahama Cho has announced his retirement from taekwondo ©Getty Images

Britain's World Championship silver medallist Mahama Cho has announced his retirement from taekwondo.

The 32-year-old, who was born in the Ivory Coast, has been the leading British athlete in the heavyweight division for more than a decade.

He won the silver medal in the over-87 kilograms class at the 2017 World Championships in Muju in South Korea, losing to Abdoul Razak Issoufou of Niger in the final.

Cho also competed at two Olympic Games, losing a bronze-medal match in the over-80kg class to Brazil's Maicon Siqueira at Rio 2016 and exiting in the last 16 at Tokyo 2020.

His Tokyo defeat to China's Sun Hongyi will now be his last contest.

Nicknamed "The Hammer" because of his strong right-hand punch, Cho triumphed at the European Olympic qualification event for Rio 2016.

He became Britain's first World Taekwondo Grand Prix gold medallist when he topped the podium on home soil in Manchester in 2013.

In 2017 he won another Grand Prix gold in Moroccan capital Rabat, while he bagged silver at the 2019 World Grand Slam in Wuxi in China.

Cho has opted to move into coaching with the Warrior Academy, which is based in Dubai.

Warrior Academy has links with GB Taekwondo with the aim of transitioning more athletes through to coaching roles.

"Some say I am retiring but I say I am way too old to be retiring," said Cho.

"I am saying goodbye to a career of ups and downs, success, glamour, friendship, knowledge and a bit of a celebrity lifestyle that didn't match the pain.

"But I look back and can be proud for what I have done for my country. 

"And I am most grateful for what my country has offered me, opportunities to travel the world and represent it at the highest level.

Mahama Cho last competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©Getty Images
Mahama Cho last competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©Getty Images

"I only hope I have set the standard for those who are looking for examples to achieve at the highest level: a standard for those who want to achieve at the highest level, a standard so youngsters can fulfil their dreams.

"Now, I am moving on to other opportunities; one I have dreamed about since being a youngster - how to be able to inspire, how to be able to help youngsters improve in their careers and in their goals

"I am most grateful this opportunity has landed on my lap and to work with an organisation such as Warrior Academy, to be able to fulfil the needs of our youngsters who I once used to be.

"I know exactly what needs to be done to help them fulfil their needs. 

"It is an exciting time and I hope I can make an impact the same way I made an impact in the world class programme."

GB Taekwondo performance director Gary Hall added: "Cho has been a fantastic person, athlete and professional during his 10-year-plus career with GB Taekwondo.

"Cho and the world-class coaches, in particular Steve Jennings, and the science and medicine team have been on an incredible journey to achieve what no GB heavyweight has done before him, and he achieved this through some inspiring training and competition performances.

"I am delighted that he now moves onto this new chapter in his life and I have no doubt he will inspire many young martial artists on their life journeys."