Here’s an update from the British Taekwondo Sport Performance Department.
You can download a PDF version of the update report here.
A relatively short update from me this month on some of the things going on behind the scenes and to clarify some things that are approaching in the coming months. I cannot think of anywhere more suitable to start than with a mini celebration of some of the results and performances we have witnessed from our British Taekwondo members around Europe over the first half of 2023. This year we amended our selection criteria for the Cadet and Under 21 Major Championships to assist in best preparing our young athletes. We hoped that having our coaches coaching and our athletes competing regularly on the international stage would provide us with the exposure required for us to be more competitive at future Major Championships. Time will tell if these changes have an impact this year but regardless, we believe in this vision and we think we will reap the rewards in years to come.
INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS 2023
The first half of 2023 has been very successful for our British Taekwondo Clubs, Coaches & Athletes, we have been really pleased to hear about all of your successes and also to see so many positive news stories rolling out across your social media platforms over the last few months. There have been medals won by our British Taekwondo members in all the following countries Turkey, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Luxemburg, Azerbaijan, Italy and Poland which is incredible.
The Spanish Open in particular deserves a special mention in my opinion. This competition was slightly different because in order to work out the most successful team awards at this competition the organisers decided to group all clubs from the same country together regardless of whether they entered as the same team or not, technically all athletes from all British club teams were representing “Great Britain” and their results were being accumulated for “Great Britain”.
Some of you will remember this was an idea we had within the department, we wanted to attend an international competition as a unified GB Team, there was great appetite for this, but it unfortunately became very challenging from a logistical perspective, and we were unable to deliver. In Spain the organisers done this for us, and collectively Great Britain came away with overall team awards in the following categories, Cadet Male, Cadet Female, Junior Male & Junior Female. We received so much positive correspondence from coaches across the country sending positive messages about not just their own clubs and members but others too. I am not naïve enough to think that we will ever be 100% unified right across every club, but I do think we are heading in the right direction. There is lots of collaboration going on and in general we seem far more open to working together and putting a bigger focus on making more of a statement out there in Europe. Special awards are listed below.
- Overall Cadet Male – 2nd Place Team
- Overall Cadet Female – 2nd Place Team
- Overall Junior Male – 2nd Place Team
- Overall Junior Female – 2nd Place Team
- Best Cadet Male Athlete at Spanish Open – Fabio Carvalho from Kixstar Dragons TKD and coached by Saimore Sarsoza
- Best Cadet Female Athlete at Spanish Open – Skye Taylor from Allen TKD Academy & coached by Richard Allen
I have made a big thing of the Spanish Open because the British athletes that were out there were so dominant and the feel-good factor at the time was incredible. However, it does appear that whatever international competition I follow right now there are some GB success stories to celebrate. Congratulations to all the coaches that are doing a fantastic job supporting these medal winning performances……. Long may this continue.
The GB Senior team have also been doing the business on the biggest of international stages winning lots of medals recently at the World Championships in Baku, Grand Prix in Rome and European Games in Krakow. It was an incredibly challenging month for these amazing athletes, not only from the physical challenge but from the mental and emotional stress as well, I am really proud of all of them. There are so many highlights from the last month that I could speak about, but some huge performances are highlighted below:
- Bradly Sinden (Kings TKD) – Winning his 4th consecutive World Championship medal and becoming World Champion for the second time is simply incredible. Brad is an inspiration to all of us.
- Aaliyah Powell (Quest TKD) – Won her 3rd consecutive World Championship medal. Amazing achievement at such a young age. Who knows what Aaliyah will go on to achieve in her career.
- Caden Cunningham (Quest TKD) – Surprised everyone by returning to the ring ahead of schedule at the World Championships. Caden worked really hard and surprised us all by being able to compete in Baku. He followed this up with outstanding results and performance at the Grand Prix and the European Games winning Gold Medals at both which is simply unbelievable.
Writing this makes me so proud. As you can see, British athletes are currently winning medals at all age groups across the continent. I am hoping that this current success inspires all our selected teams to go on and create their own history in the upcoming competitions. Let’s go GBR.
Now the window of opportunity for athletes to hit the minimum requirements to be considered for Selection has passed, the department will hold our selection meetings very soon. We are just waiting on absolute clarity from the World Governing Body that the Cadet competitions will be run using height categories as advertised previously. The moment this is confirmed we will select the team immediately and athletes, parents and coaches will be notified in a timely manner. Please respond to all correspondence or requests from our department as quickly as possible, time will be of the essence particularly around the Cadet World Championships. Whilst I am talking about selection, I also feel it is right of me to clarify a few things.
- Please remember that hitting the minimum standards outlined in the selection policy DOES NOT automatically qualify you for selection to the team. There are multiple aspects that the selection panel will consider before making a final decision. If you are still unsure, please familiarise yourself with the Selection Policy 2023.
- Unfortunately, as much as it breaks my heart to write this, trips to these Major Championships still need to be self-funded by athletes or parents.
- Lastly, as a department but even at National Governing Body level countries have zero impact on the decisions taken by World Taekwondo or the European Taekwondo Union. There are lots of things that are out of our control so please do try to show some understanding in these situations. We are happy to offer advice wherever we can, but we are not in a position to be able to change the rules of the sport.
COACHING AT MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
It is at this time of the year when the department receives multiple requests from club coaches up and down the country asking if it is possible to coach their own club athletes at the Major Championships. We have given this lots of time and consideration but ultimately concluded that it is not feasible. We appreciate our coaches so much and we know that it is you putting in the hard work on daily basis to develop these athletes. As a coach myself I am totally aware of the relationships between coach and athlete and the impact we can have but I assure you if there was a straightforward way for us to be able to facilitate this we would. There are many reasons why this is difficult that I wouldn’t like to list here, but if anybody would like to discuss this further, please do reach out to a member of the department. We will use our current department coaches to staff the upcoming Major Championships.
The next round of our Squad & Youth Development Sessions are now available for you to sign up to. The earlier you can register the easier it makes it for us to plan so if you can get yourself signed up early it would really help us out a lot.
Youth Development Camp – South
Prendergast Hillyfields Sports Hall, Brockley, London, Saturday 8th July 2023
BT National Squad Training
National Taekwondo Centre, Manchester, M40 2SP, Saturday 15th July 2023
Youth Development Camp – North
National Taekwondo Centre, Manchester, M40 2SP, Saturday 29th July 2023
British Taekwondo National Squad Training
National Taekwondo Centre, Manchester, M40 2SP, Saturday 12th August 2023
COACH DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Finally, we have gotten round to facilitating some of you club coaches into our squad sessions to share our vision and ambitions and also offer you the opportunity to observe the training. Some coaches have found real value in understanding the programme in a bit more detail and others have learnt lots from the training environment and the training methods on show. Over the past few months, we have welcomed 17 coaches into our team and the feedback we are receiving is very positive. We thank the coaches for their commitment and for the kind words they have shared since.
Our doors are currently open to any British Taekwondo coach that would like to come in and spectate at our squad sessions. We allow a maximum of 5 per session for us to be able to dedicate some quality time to you guys, our next session that this service is available is 12th August, we have two spaces available if anybody would like to attend?
We have also had a few coaches help in the delivery of Youth Development Sessions. Department coaches lead the sessions but there is an opportunity for some aspiring coaches to come in, shadow and learn whilst they are on their own journey of personal development. Again, if you have an interest in supporting in the delivery of our Youth Development Camps then please do reach out and make contact.
That’s it from me at this point. Congratulations again to all the members and coaches out there making big progress this year. Keep up the good work.
Steve Jennings – Operations Manager
British Taekwondo Sport Performance Department