British Taekwondo Martial Art Performance Department logo
British Taekwondo Poomsae Performance Department logo
British Taekwondo Poomsae Referee Department logo
British Taekwondo Sport Performance Department logo
British Taekwondo Sport Referee Department logo
Technical Departments

Introduction to our Technical Departments

British Taekwondo launched the Technical Departments in 2020. The Technical Departments are full of talented and passionate people reshaping the future of the Martial Art, Poomsae and Combat Sport activity in Great Britain.

The British Taekwondo Technical Departments are responsible for Martial Art Performance, Poomsae Referees, Poomsae Performance, Sport Performance and Sport Referees.

Martial Art Department

The Martial Art Department work on the growth of participation and Martial Art education in the coming years, forming strategy to deliver outstanding training opportunities at the highest level and with some of the best Taekwondo Martial Artist talent we have in Great Britain, sharing knowledge and raising standards. The department will also steer the rebuilding of British Taekwondo syllabus’, Kup and Dan examiner programs for everyone’s benefit.

British Taekwondo Martial Art Performance Department logo
Mark YellMartial Art Performance Department, Chair
Mark has a successful career of delivering large business focused IT transformations, defining corporate IT strategy, directing international commercial software development programs, and delivering consultancy services. These achievements have demanded clear, customer focused, innovative technical leadership, reinforced with technical capabilities in business transformation, risk management, corporate governance, enterprise architecture, solution development and delivery. Mark has broad industrial experience gained in the Water Industry (UU), Aerospace & Defense (BAE Systems), Chemical Process and Commercial Software industries (Aspen Technology). Mark is the Chief Architect for United Utilities PLC, a FTSE 100 company, responsible for defining and delivery of strategy to enable it to deliver its digital transformation ambitions. Mark has a PhD and BSc in Chemical Engineering from the University of Leeds and is a Fellow of the British Taekwondo Society. Mark holds a 4th Dan in Taekwondo and specialises in Martial Science and Pressure Points.
John StopforthMartial Art Performance, Education Manager
John brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role, gained from over 37 years’ experience in Taekwondo. John has run a highly successful Taekwondo school in South Yorkshire for over a decade. John is a fully qualified teacher with a Certificate in Education LVL5 and has spent the past 15 years at the forefront of Education in the UK from teaching at College and Degree level to Senior Leadership team roles and working with the Department for Education on the new T Levels.

John’s current role is Head of Education at Escape Technology working with Colleges and Universities to bring industry technology solutions into Further and Higher Education. Wherever possible he has tried to combine the passion for teaching with the passion for Taekwondo. John currently holds British Taekwondo and Chung Do Kwan 6th Dan.

Georgina IngramMartial Art Performance, Operations Manager
British Taekwondo Poomsae Performance Department logo

Poomsae Performance Department

The department aims to:

  • Be fully inclusive and encourage participation & enjoyment of poomsae at all levels.
  • Create & promote accessible development pathways for Athletes.
  • Ensure excellent governance with clear policies and procedures.
  • Undertake fair selections of Squads and Teams for Major Championships.
  • Increase attendance at open seminars & British Taekwondo Championships.
  • Provide Club Coach development for Poomsae competition specific training.
  • Create a Poomsae Coach GB Development Pathway for succession planning.
  • Support our national squad & elite athletes to fulfil their maximum potential.
  • Look after the welfare of our squad & offer mental well-being support.
  • Offer physio support to our elite athletes to minimise and rehabilitate injuries.
  • Ensure a respectful & positive working environment for all Volunteer Committee Members, Coaching Team & Support Staff at all times.
  • Fully collaborate with all British Taekwondo Volunteer Departments.
  • Create positive relationships with external stakeholders and organisations.
  • Celebrate success of athletes at all levels.
  • Lead an athlete-centred centralised elite squad programme to enable development of individuals, pairs and teams.
  • Ensure all athletes, coaches & support staff behave professionally as an ambassador for GB Poomsae & British Taekwondo in person and on social media.
  • Regularly reflect on feedback and readily adapt to changing needs in the best interest of the programme.
Gemma BiescasPoomsae Performance Department, Chair
Gemma brings to the role as Chair a wealth of knowledge and experience within all areas of Poomsae, Para-Poomsae and Freestyle gained from over 36 years within Taekwondo. Gemma has been a GB Kyorugi World Level athlete, and a GB European Poomsae Athlete and as the former Head Poomsae Coach for Great Britain. For more than a decade Gemma has worked with athletes and coaches from grassroots development right through to producing World Championship winning medal success.
Della O’HoroPoomsae Performance Department, Squad Logistics Manager
Della has an extensive operational background within her professional career which she brings to the position as Operations Manager. Over the last two years Della has played an important role as an official chaperone to the national team at World and European Poomsae Championships. Della is a 6th Dan Black Belt with over 30 years of experience in Taekwondo. Della is also a qualified national Poomsae referee and a current member of the National Poomsae Squad.
Russell WatkinsonPara Poomsae Performance Manager
Chi LaiPoomsae Performance Department, Team Manager
Chi has been involved in Taekwondo for the best part of 35 years. Balancing a hectic work/life schedule; Chi splits his time and responsibilities with family, working as an IT applications manager for a large London based organisation, running a very successful Taekwondo club and performing duties as one of the National High Performance Poomsae Coaches.

Poomsae Referee Department

The department’s role is to coordinate the development of British Taekwondo’s Poomsae Referees with the objectives of:

  • Making the UK a great place to be a Poomsae Referee.
  • Establishing a clear and transparent development pathway.
  • Delivering engaging courses and seminars.
  • Ensuring consistent and fair refereeing approach for competitions.
  • Support the development of referees at all levels including progression to International Referee.
British Taekwondo Poomsae Referee Department logo
Gerry ReillyPoomsae Referee Department, Chair
Gerry brings over 35 years of experience in Taekwondo, as a student, competitor, coach, referee and tournament organiser. He is founder and senior coach of Bluewave Korean Martial Arts holding a 7th Dan Kukkiwon as well as 1st Dan in Hapkido. He also brings many years of experience as a senior executive in the IT industry where he is currently a member of the Senior Leadership Team for Health Data Research UK and a Visiting Professor of Computer Science at Brunel University.
Bilal NaqshbandiPoomsae Referee Department, Operations Manager
Carolina Barros ClarkPoomsae Referee Department, Education & Progression Manager
Carolina has 38 years of experience in Martial Arts – 31 in Taekwondo. Carolina has also competed in Kyorugi and Poomsae. Since 2010, Carolina has been a Poomsae Referee, judging in the UK since 2017. Currently, Carolina is a Class 1 National Referee.
Sian ReillyPoomsae Referee Department, Marketing Manager
Sian brings over 20 years of Taekwondo experience, as a student, competitor, coach and referee. Sian’s experience for the role is supported by her MSc in Digital Marketing and Analytics and BA (Hons) Business Management degrees.
British Taekwondo Sport Performance Department logo

Sport Performance Department

The Sport Performance Department organises and delivers numerous training sessions, competitions, selection events and technical seminars over the year.

Siva RamasamySport Performance Department, Chair
Siva is well known within the British Taekwondo family, as a board member and successful club leader with Gurumu Taekwondo. 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.
Steve JenningsSport Performance Department, Operations Manager
Steve is one of GB Taekwondo’s best known Olympic medal winning coaches with more than 12 years’ experience in elite level international sport. Steve’s roots are firmly in grass roots club development and his outstanding self-discipline, and leadership will help drive a new strategic plan for British Taekwondo’s Cadet, Under 21 and university programs.
Donna ThomasSport Performance Department, Squads Manager
Donna has over 25 years experience working in the Hotel Industry working for well known brands such as Holiday Inn. In Taekwondo, Donna has had voluntary roles at the 2017 London Grand Prix and 2019 Manchester World Championships and offers vast experience in logistics and event organisation such as the Kixstar Open and gala dinners. Donna is a mother of 2 Taekwondo athletes, as well as a Safeguaridng Officer and Director at Kixstar Dragon Taekwondo.
Daniel FlesherSport Performance Department, Teams Manager
In Taekwondo for 19 years, Daniel has coached at club level for a decade. From 2018, Dan got involved within the British Taekwondo Cadet Programme, coaching at Cadet European and World Championship events, as well as being part of the U21 Coaching Team at the 2019 U21 European Championships.

Sport Referee Department

The department’s role is to coordinate the development of British Taekwondo’s Sport Referees with the objectives of:

  • Providing structure and administration to support British Taekwondo referees.
  • Establishing a clear pathway from grass roots to elite level.
  • Educating, supporting and developing referees at all levels.
  • Recruiting new UK referees and increase participation at UK and international events.
  • Achieving a high level of respect for British Taekwondo worldwide.
  • Enabling athlete high performance.
  • Enabling British Taekwondo members to achieve their own personal goals by providing new opportunities in Taekwondo as a referee.
British Taekwondo Sport Referee Department logo
Paul TimmsSport Referee Department, Chair
Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role, gained from over 36 years’ experience in Taekwondo. Paul has run a highly successful Taekwondo school in rural Lincolnshire for over a decade and hails from a military career and background, where he represented the Army and Combined Services successfully. He has been a familiar face as an elite referee representing Great Britain for a number of years now and can be seen refereeing all over the world at the highest level of World Taekwondo events, including the World Championships, the Grand Prix and Grand Slam finals. Paul was also shortlisted to the top 50 pool of referees for the Tokyo Olympics. He is a highly active official and can often be seen working tirelessly within the National Domestic circuit for grassroots sport.
Clare LaybourneSport Referee Department, Education Manager
Clare has been involved in Taekwondo for over 30 years as an athlete, an instructor and in 2010 first qualified as Class 3 then progressed through to International Referee in 2018.

Clare has been a familiar face as an elite referee representing Great Britain for the last four years and can be seen refereeing all over the world including G1,G2,G4’s including World Taekwondo Grand Prix.

Clare also holds the honour of being Great Britain’s first Paralympic referee – having been selected for Tokyo 2020.

Jo Leach-FlanaganSport Referee Department, Administration & Finance Manager
Jo started her referee career in 2010, qualifying as an International Referee in 2018.

Jo got into refereeing as a very proud parent of two former fighters, and wanted to give back to the sport that gave her children so much.

This has led to refereeing all over the world at various international events including the 1st Small State Championships, Senior Europeans and the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal where she fulfilled a lifelong ambition of seeing Mount Everest in person.

Jo was also invited to attend the Paralympic selection camp in 2019 for Tokyo 2020.