British Para-Taekwondo is picking up momentum following the announcement that our art and sport will have it’s place in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
This month saw an exciting event which signified the continued progress and development of Para-Taekwondo in Britain.
The historic city of Nottingham set the stage for the 2015 CPISRA World Games; an event ultimately designed to provide athletes with an opportunity to experience a competitive multi-sport atmosphere.
Taekwondo athletes from far and wide took the opportunity to show their stuff at the world-wide competition.
The games was last held in Nottingham in 2001, and this year opened for the the first time in 10 years in an international capacity. Hosted by Cerebal Palsy Sport on behalf of the Cerebral Palsy International Sport and Recreation Association (CPISRA), the games were held as part of a wider goal to support people with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities to reach their full sporting potential.
As well as Para-Taekwondo, the event included Athletics, Bowls, CP Football 7-a-side Under 19 World Championships; Swimming and Table Cricket.
“The CPISRA World Games, whilst a major event, was a small step for British Taekwondo, but certainly a giant leap for the World Taekwondo Federation and CPISRA on a global level.” Said Tom Stammer, Chairman of British Taekwondo’s Para Committee.
“It really was the start of something great for all Taekwondo CP Athletes.”
Samantha Carrington, a Mansfield-based athlete, was selected to be flag bearer for the event.
“I was born with hemiplegia, a form of Cerebral Palsy (a weakness down the right hand side of my body).” Samantha told Nottingham Post ahead of the games.
“I was told I wouldn’t walk, swim or drive a car; but when I’m told I can’t do something it only makes me more determined to prove people wrong and succeed in the goal.
“I had physiotherapy until the age of 18, but didn’t get transferred to adult physiotherapy, and knew I needed to do something to keep me active and healthy. My brother did Taekwondo and I always watched and supported him during competitions, and wished that I could do the same.
“I spoke to my cousin, who is now my Taekwondo Instructor, Master Darrell Carrington, and I explained that my physio was stopping and I needed exercise to keep my mobility.”
Seeing huge benefits to her flexibility and mobility, Samantha has never looked back. Today she trains as 2nd Dan with Kang Han Martial Arts, Hucknall with Grandmaster Ian Lennox. Not to mention, attending sessions with the Great Britain Squad.
“I love being able to compete at competitions like the CPISRA World Games, to show people that we are no different to anybody else and we give our best.
“Para-Taekwondo is going from strength to strength and developing at a fast-pace. The CPISRA World Games give us such a great platform to demonstrate what Para-Taekwondo is, to get more people involved in the sport; to develop it even further ahead of its inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic programme.”
Samantha played a huge part in opening the Games as flag bearer.
“When I found out I was shocked and overwhelmed; I would have never thought this would ever have happened to me. I just always give 100% and want to become the best I can but I was so honoured and proud to be the flag bearer for the Games in my hometown – and to be part of bringing the Games back to Nottingham.”
The event wasn’t one enjoyed only by the many athletes who attended. The weekend saw friends, family, event supporters, volunteers and fans cheering on the competitors and getting stuck in.
Louey, the Games Mascot, vamped up the crowds, posing for pictures ad making onlookers smile throughout the event. To celebrate the Games coming to Nottingham, Nottingham 2015 ran a competition with all the schools in the Nottinghamshire area to design a Mascot for the Games. Louey was designed by a young boy called Anthony.
Along with British athletes, the large event welcomed competitors from Austria, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Russian Federation, Scotland and Sweden.
We’re delighted to reflect on what was a hugely enjoyed, and very successful games. Playing their part in the success was a dedicated team of British Taekwondo Officials, who refereed across the event.
A brilliant indication of the strides Para-Taekwondo continues to take, the Games marked ever-growing opportunities for athletes around the world.
We would like to extend our thanks to the hosts, organisers and of course all who contributed to making Para-Taekwondo a success at the event. We would also like to congratulate all athletes who participated, and recognise the British Taekwondo clubs who continue to nurture Para-Taekwondo and uphold the art and sport as one to be experienced and enjoyed by all.
Photograps: 3SIXTY5 Photography