Meet the British Taekwondo Board

Meet the British Taekwondo Board

About the British Taekwondo Board

The Board of British Taekwondo lead the strategic direction of the organisation. The Board consists of people from both Taekwondo and non-Taekwondo backgrounds and meet quarterly.

Eamonn O'Rourke
Eamonn O'RourkeIndependent Chair
Eamonn has 40+ years experience in the sport and leisure industry, with his previous role being Head of Community and Cultural Services at Manchester City Council. Eamonn was part of the senior leadership team that created the Sports Facility and Sports Development Strategic Plan for Manchester that resulted in the Commonwealth Games coming to the UK in 2002.

He also has board member experience with Manchester’s County Sports Partnership, Greater Sport, Water Polo, Squash & Hockey, while also being an independent Chair of the Stakeholder board that delivered the 2019 World Taekwondo Championships.

Ian Leafe
Ian LeafeChief Executive Officer
Ian has a 40 year history with the Martial Art and Sport. Over that time he has been an athlete at international level, a coach, and an S Class International referee for over 25 years, officiating at World level events including the 2004 Olympic Games.

Ian was also a founding director of GB Taekwondo, the world leading high performance arm of the Olympic Sport. In the last decade, acting as Head of Events, Ian delivered multiple British & European Championships, & ground-breaking Grand Prix series.

Just before joining British Taekwondo, Ian was the event director of the team that delivered the 2019 World Taekwondo Championships at Manchester Arena. Ian still trains and teaches Taekwondo, and is a Kukkiwon 8th Dan Grand Master. Ian’s combination of Taekwondo specific experience and operational skills will support the board on its future journey!

Sarah Stevenson
Sarah StevensonPresident & Non-Executive Director
Sarah is Great Britain’s trail blazing Olympic taekwondo athlete, three times world champion and four times Olympian, she won Great Britain’s first ever Olympic medal in taekwondo, a bronze, at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Sarah also delivered the athlete Olympic oath at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Games in front of a Worldwide audience on behalf of all the athletes. Sarah went on to become the Athlete Rep and full executive member on the World Taekwondo Council.

Usman Dildar
Usman DildarVice President
Usman has developed his immense expertise on every level of the sport, from an athlete and coach, up to an executive level in a career spanning a period of more than three decades. Some of the highlights of his Taekwondo career is being part of the team, which delivered the successful London 2012 Olympic Games. More recently, he officiated at Tokyo 2020, enabling Para Taekwondo to make its successful debut at the Paralympic Games (and Paris 2024 – to be!).

Usman currently serves as the Technical Director of the European Taekwondo Union, as a Member of the World Taekwondo Member Relation & Development (MRD) Commission, as Vice Chair of World Para Taekwondo Committee, Chair of Para Taekwondo Games Committee, and a Consultant to the Saudi Arabian Mahd Sports Academy. In summer 2023 Usman was appointed chair of World Taekwondo’s Para Taekwondo Committee.

His vast knowledge and experience of the national and international landscape, as well as strong rooted international relations is an invaluable asset as he continues to advise and assist the Board toward the future success of British Taekwondo.

Gemma Biescas
Gemma BiescasNon-Executive Director
Gemma holds a BSc Honours Degree in Biological Life Sciences and tutors science. She is a former U.S. Naval Fitness Manager with qualifications including: Personal Training, Military Fitness, Pre/Post Natal, Sports Massage & Injury Therapy, Nutrition & L1 Gymnastics Coaching. Gemma is a former Kyrougi National Team member, World level & European Silver Medallist 1994 and former Poomsae National Team member, European representative 1997 & 2009.

Gemma is also Chair of British Taekwondo’s Poomsae Performance Department. Gemma has been a black belt since 1988, is a club Instructor, holds a 7th Dan Kukkiwon and is the highest ranked U.K Female.

Helen Martin
Helen MartinSenior Independent Non-Executive Director
Helen is a Chartered Accountant with over 20 years of experience in senior financial roles, primarily in the funded sport and not-for-profit sector, including 15 years as Director of Business and Finance at the English Institute of Sport.

Helen advises the board on finance and governance matters, as well as chairing the Audit and Risk Committee.

Helen is also the Senior Independent Director (SID) on the board, providing a sounding board for the chair, serving as an intermediary for the other directors, and leading the annual appraisal of the chair’s performance.

Matthew Barnes
Matthew BarnesIndependent Non-Executive Director
Matt is a Qualified Solicitor and is the current Head of Legal at New Balance, having previously held the same position at the Rugby Football League and British Cycling.

Matt now has over 15 years of working in the sports industry, having previously also competed internationally in the sports of Modern Pentathlon and Athletics. Matt advises the board on legal matters, as well as being a member of the Nominations and Remuneration Committee.

Said Khelwatty
Said KhelwattyNon-Executive Director
Said draws his Taekwondo expertise as an athlete who has represented Great Britain at world level events, including being part of the first World Taekwondo Demonstration Team at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Said is also a successful club coach and an event organiser for more than 20 years, overseeing the successful delivery of events such as British Taekwondo National and International Poomsae Championships, and Poomsae Coaching qualification courses, amongst others.

Since 2017, Said has been a Board member of British Taekwondo and currently chairs the British Taekwondo Technical Committee. He also sits on the World Para Taekwondo Committee as a member and chairs the World Para Taekwondo Poomsae Committee as well as serving as a Technical Delegate of World Taekwondo at international events and World Taekwondo Educator.

Away from Taekwondo, Said holds a doctorate in Cancer Diagnosis and Therapeutics and works as a Senior Lecturer at a leading London University, with extensive experience in teaching and clinical research project management.

Siva Ramasamy
Siva RamasamyNon-Executive Director
Siva is a first-class degree holder in BSc Honours Computer Science with a strong industry experience who later diversified into finance and taxation. Over the years Siva has developed a great interest in the property market and currently runs a successful property business applying the knowledge and experience built over the years.

Siva has 26 years of Taekwondo experience, from being a former national seeded athlete, Siva moved onto coaching at club level and later joined GB Taekwondo as a Talent Pathway Development Coach and Cadet National Coach.

Siva has great experience in delivering community-based projects through Taekwondo, he delivered the Capital Kicks Project in London in 2017 as part of the London Grand Prix. He was also part of the steering group and the Field of Play Manager at the 2019 World Taekwondo Championships in Manchester. Siva was also the Torchbearer at the 2012 London Olympic Games and in the same year he had a special invitation to attend Her Majesty the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace for his Services to the Community.

Shaun Gagie
Shaun GagieIndependent Non-Executive Director
Shaun has over 10 years work experience delivering HR, Organisational Development and Safeguarding across varying sectors which include Sport, Housing and Education.

Shaun advises the Board on Safeguarding, but also provides advice to British Taekwondo’s team on HR procedures.

Ian Tussie
Ian TussieIndependent Non Executive Director
Ian has over 10 years’ experience delivering sponsorship, commercial partnerships and marketing strategies across sport, entertainment, transport, health & leisure, visitors attractions across both the private and public sector.

He has worked with businesses such as Reebok, Zoggs, David Lloyd Leisure, Pure Gym, AO, JD Sports, TfL, Manchester Airport, Utilita, Jaguar, Manchester Central, ASM Global, ACC Liverpool, Eden Project, Kingsmill, Asda and many more. Ian advises the board on marketing, commercial and partnerships.