Statement from Jon Smith

We held our AGM on Saturday 24th November in Manchester.

I would like to thank all those who took the time out of their busy schedules to attend.

These events are really important – after all, it is your futures and the future of Taekwondo in the UK that the AGM is annually designed to support.

On Saturday the meeting voted in two new Non-Executive Directors: Sivakumar Ramasamy and Gemma Biescas, as well as a new President, Sarah Jennings.

We look forward to 2019/2020 with good heart!

On a personal note ….. Saturday saw me step down as Chair of British Taekwondo. Whilst I am a little proud of what I have achieved in UK Sport over the years, I have a rather special place in my heart for Taekwondo. Not only did it teach me lifestyle and respect as a young practitioner but it gave me the physical confidence that can sometimes be lacking in a person of my substantial 5’8” frame!

Some 40 + years later I have had the immense privilege of helping lead this sport / martial arts’ NGB.

Yes it has had its moments! …. As most of you are aware there are always plenty of issues to resolve in our world and BT, of course, has been through a pretty rough time both financially and organisationally in recent times; but with the tremendous support of some exceptional colleagues on the Board and across the membership, I am delighted to leave British Taekwondo in robust health and financial strength.

It has been an honour to serve all of you – I have tried to make the Chair’s office open to everyone in Taekwondo, from the earliest young participants and their parents through to our diligent coaches, administrators, officials and of course our referees, all the way through to the President of the World Governing Body.

We now have real influence at the top table which will hopefully stand us in good stead in the coming years. We have invested our financial gains back in the now growing membership, and are more joined up with our sister organisation at GB ….. and even with BTC. We are a Sport England success and an Olympic success!! Indeed Sport England have described these last 3 years as ‘transformational’ in our sport.

We have some wonderful talent emerging through our clubs and are joining the dots with them and the elite national squads – both in Kyrougi and Poomsae.

We do however still have some work to do on strengthening safeguarding, a task on which we have been working diligently over the past couple of years.

We now have a new CEO, 2 new NEDs and of course a new President – I held both the office of Chair and President … maybe that is why everyone was so nice to me! Our Non-Exec Director Jonny Cowan will now step up as Interim Chair whilst arrangements are made for my permanent replacement, I wish them all well in their efforts in leading our wonderful Martial Art into the next decade.

For me, fortunately, I have much in my life to keep me ‘amused’! And a few more challenges to undertake before I get ‘old(er!)’!

In the meantime, and with grateful thanks for the honour of being allowed to hold the office of Chair, I do hope I leave you with a good legacy and of course wish to take this opportunity of thanking all of you who have shared this journey with me over the last 5 years and without whose support we wouldn’t have even got onto the mat!!

With every good wish to you all not only for Christmas and 2019 ….. but for the next decade and onwards for everyone at British Taekwondo.

Jon Smith