A blog post update from Matt Marshall and Richard Bungay from British Taekwondo’s Events team.

2023 was a big year for British Taekwondo, especially in the Events team. Less than two years after restarting the British Taekwondo events programme following the pandemic pause, we delivered a record year of events in the UK.

This included the:

  • British Taekwondo International Kyorugi Open in July 2023
  • British Taekwondo Kyorugi National Championships in September 2023
  • British Taekwondo Poomsae National Championships in October 2023
  • Manchester 2023 World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final in December 2023

As a small team of two, we work in close partnership to deliver each event, relying on the incredible dedication of our volunteer Technical Departments for their expertise.

The Events team is currently staffed by Matt Marshall, Events Manager and Richard Bungay, Events Officer (Placement).

As we commence 2024 there are several pieces of work that Matt and Richard are moving forward to enhance and improve the British Taekwondo event programme.

Sanctioning policy for club events

The sanction policy was introduced to meet the feedback of club hosts and coaches, and now we’re hearing that something slightly different is needed. As such we’re speaking to club hosts and coaches to understand how the sanction policy needs to develop to allow us all to provide the best competition offer to the players who take part.

National championships planning

We recently confirmed the date and venue of the British Taekwondo Kyorugi National Championships, returning to the EIS Sheffield on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October. This is excellent news as it provides most people with a familiar venue and the ability to plan early. We’re excited to develop on last years’ event to make 2024 a clear improvement on what’s been before.

We’re in final discussions with venues for the British Taekwondo Poomsae National Championships. We heard from the community that although Worcester University is a nice, modern venue, it’s in a challenging location for many people and a venue in a more easily accessible location would be welcome.

It’s taken some time to find a venue with the right space and facilities and in the right location which means we haven’t been able to announce this event date and venue yet. It won’t be long now and we’re confident the wait will be worthwhile.

New concepts in combat sport and poomsae

In 2024 we will be working to build on British Taekwondo’s traditional role delivering the national championships for the combat sport and poomsae. There are new challenges and opportunities in both disciplines that provide us with the opportunity to think creatively about how we continue to make Taekwondo an attractive and welcoming choice for people who want to take up a new sport or activity.

Some of our considerations include reduced head contact options for children and beginners, game-based competition using elements of the combat sport, poomsae and martial art, and re-formatting traditional competition models to provide better athlete and spectator experiences.

Nothing is set in stone, this is an area of exploration and we’ll be coming to you, the Taekwondo community, to check and test our ideas as we progress through 2024.

Widening our event offer to the Martial Art

British Taekwondo’s current event programme is heavily focussed on the competition disciplines and we’re aware of a need to broaden our offer to the Martial Art community. We’re in the early stages of understanding what this might look like but it’s an exciting piece of work to branch into a new area.

Working towards future international events

A huge element of last year for the events team was delivering the Manchester 2023 World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final in December. This event was organised in partnership with GB Taekwondo, UK Sport, Manchester City Council and of course World Taekwondo.

The event was an enormous success, culminating with World Taekwondo awarding the UK ‘Member National Association of the Year’ for 2023 at the Gala Awards in December.

Looking to the future we will be working with GB Taekwondo, UK Sport and our own Technical Departments to think strategically about which international events are right for us to host and how we can maximise those opportunities through partnerships.

About the Events team

Matt joined British Taekwondo in 2021 after several years working in weightlifting and para powerlifting, and prior to that in aquatics and triathlon. Matt’s role as Events Manager is to oversee the delivery of the events programme as a whole; from implementing the event sanction policy and working with the Taekwondo community to provide a better club-level event calendar, to leading the delivery of the World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final as Event Director.

Richard joined British Taekwondo in 2023 to provide short-term support to the British International Kyorugi Open and then joined full-time to complete his university placement year. Richard has written about his role and experience while working at British Taekwondo.