Sport Performance Department Update

After an incredibly difficult year, the Sport Performance Department would like to announce our schedule of activities for the next few months as we emerge from the dreadful impacts of the pandemic. The almost total stop on face-to-face action has been a big challenge to all of us, but thankfully we are now slowly returning to some kind of normality, with the numbers at our clubs continuing to grow and members looking ahead.

This lack of on the mat activity has however, provided an opportunity for us as a newly formed department, to do lots of brainstorming and planning and we very much see 2021 as an introduction phase to our fresh start with programmes and plans to be very inclusive with regards to participation at our sessions from both an athlete and coaching perspective.

It is impossible and unfair to select “squads” immediately, when no-one has been active for more than 12 months. This will come at a later date. For the time being, we are focussing on creating opportunity for a larger group of talented athletes.

Initially, all our activities will take place out of the National Taekwondo Centre in Manchester.

The main reason for this is that our National Sport Teams already have systems and covid protocols in place that have been cleared by the venue and Manchester City Council. We would however, like to assure you that we have heard your feedback, and do have ambition to offer sessions in different parts of the country once it becomes easier for us to do so.

There are exciting training opportunities ahead!


Upcoming Overseas Events

With a few international events re-announced recently, surprisingly scheduled to take place just a few weeks away in August 2021 when the impacts of the pandemic on health and movement are still in play, the Board, in conjunction with our department have had some really difficult decisions to make.

The Cadet World Championship, Cadet European Championship & -21 European Championship are all slated to take place in Bulgaria & Estonia respectively in August.

Unfortunately at this time, there are a still, so many risks and unknowns, and the safety of our adult members, coaches and children athletes is paramount in all circumstances..

These include:

  • Potential exposure to the Covid19 virus and variants whilst travelling and whilst abroad
  • All athletes have had little or no match experience for over a year – placing a significant risk of injury or harm in a full contact sport.
  • Selecting teams in any objective way would be difficult and potentially unfair.
  • Bulgaria & Estonia are both currently on the governments “Amber” travel list , meaning the advice is “To avoid all but essential travel” to these locations (And this status could also change for the worse at any time)
  • Anyone travelling would currently be required to quarantine for 10 days upon return
  • Anyone producing a positive Covid19 test before returning home, would be stranded abroad for a further 10 days
  • There are significant challenges, complications and unacceptable implications for travel as highlighted above and for acquiring travel insurance.

It is therefore, with a very heavy heart, we announce that Great Britain have decided against sending a team to these events. In the interests of the safety of our athletes and any potential staff, we have concluded that the best decision is to avoid these competitions. This decision was not taken lightly, and it is really sad for our young athletes, but we hope that members can understand and support this decision.

Junior European Championships

We also recently received news that the Junior European Championships is scheduled to take place later in the year, in Sarajevo, Bosnia in November.

GB Taekwondo are responsible for selecting and preparing teams for all Junior and Senior major events and they will release information relating to this event in due course as the picture becomes clearer, and whether it is deemed appropriate and safe to attend.

Summer Seminars

Missing international championships is not good news for our ambitious young athletes, but these are unprecedented times. Therefore our focus, initially, is in trying to create our own fantastic participation and development opportunities much closer to home.

As we don’t currently have any squads in place – as a starting point, we want to be overly inclusive with these opportunities and our main focus right now is around creating some positivity, togetherness and a real feel-good factor.

Throughout the Summer and Autumn, the Sport Performance Department will be hosting sport seminars, including with multiple Elite Level Athletes. This will be a fantastic chance for our aspiring athletes to train with some of our current & future superstars, and a once in a lifetime opportunity for many.

These sessions will be motivational & inspirational for any developing athlete, and a chance to train at our fabulous National Taekwondo Centre, for those that have never experienced this before.

Session Lengths: 2 x 2 Hours

Minimum Age: 11+

Minimum Grade: 4th Kup & above

More details to follow in the coming weeks


Coaching Opportunities

Finally for this update, moving forward one of our key ambitions is to create a strong coaching cohort within the department, offering coach development opportunities to all coaches that are interested. More information on recruitment will be released in due course but in the first instance we are inviting coaches to be part of our summer seminar series.

We have very limited spaces, and these will be offered on a first come first served basis

More details to follow in the coming weeks

This is a fantastic development opportunity for any coach that would like to be part of these seminars hosted by the department. There is potential to take tactical/technical ideas from some of GB’s best athletes whilst getting an introduction to our department, our vision and begin forming a strong working relationship with us that will be beneficial to all of us as we move forward.

Coaches thinking of applying must fulfil the below criteria:

  • Minimum age of 18 years
  • Minimum grade of 1st Dan
  • Valid BT Qualifications – Membership/Instructor Insurance/DBS
  • Safeguarding Certification

All information and application forms for both athlete participation and coach participation will be released in the coming days and weeks.

Thanks for reading and see you very soon.- hopefully in person!

Kind regards,

Stephen Jennings

Operations Manager – Sport Performance Department