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Fit and Polish! GB youngsters ready for Open examination

15th September 2017

Dereece Williams is ready to up the ante when returning to action as part of a 15-strong GB Taekwondo squad at the Polish Open in Warsaw this weekend.

The former World and European kick boxing champion from Wolverhampton marked his first appearance after making the switch to taekwondo with a bronze medal at the Austrian Open last June.

Three months on and armed with greater knowledge and understanding of his new martial art, Williams believes there is more to come.

“I have been training hard since my last competition and I am feeling a lot more confident,” he said. “So, hopefully I can do well.

“I have figured out a game plan and strategy so if I stick to it, it should work.

“Transferring over from another sport was quite hard at first,” admitted Williams who entered the GB Academy in Manchester earlier this year as part of the fourth edition intake on the Fighting Chance initiative.

The programme is delivered by GB Taekwondo in partnership with UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport and is aimed at fast tracking 15-24-year-olds into the world of high-performance sport.

“It’s not just getting used to the different skill sets. But mentally you have to stick at it if things aren’t going to plan.

“After three months I came away from Austria with a bronze medal which was a confidence boost coming from another sport.

“It gave me extra motivation to come back and train even harder, hopefully, I can do even better.

“When you are feeling good you are going to get the best out of yourself.

“I have grown a love for taekwondo but it is hard when you go from a sport where you are on top to one where you are just beginning. But I am feeling good and ready to go.”

Yorkshireman Jacob Barnett, a gold medal winner at the Austrian Open, recently returned from the World University Games.

“It was a massive learning curve,” agreed the 21-year-old from Leeds.

“I lost out to a top player who went on to win silver. But I came back, re-assessed and decided how to take it forward.”

He’s already re-assessed his wardrobe for Warsaw. “I normally wear a pair of lucky boxers,” he said. “But they are getting worse for wear so they might have to go now.”

Luke Jones, younger brother of double Olympic bronze medallist, Jade Jones, is also in action this weekend, looking for his first medal since his acceptance onto the Fighting Chance programme.



Saturday, September 16:


-58kg: Alex Golding (Normanton), Luke Jones (Flint), Hader Hassan (Falkirk), Joshua Levers (Rotherham)

-68kg: Jacob Barnett (Leeds), Josh Calland (Liverpool), Dereece Williams (Wolverhampton)

+87kg: Jack Spall (Attleborough)



-49kg: Taylor Goodall (Knowsley), Pooja Vadhva (Manchester)

-57kg: Emelye O’Brien (Bradford)

-67kg: Simone Abley (Doncaster)



-53kg: Courtney Eardley (Spennymoor)

-73kg: Rebecca McGowan (Glasgow)

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