Meet Future Paralympian: Tyler Turner
On first glance, Tyler Turner seems like any other 8-year-old, buzzing with energy and in awe at meeting some of his sporting idols such as World Champion, Bianca Walkden at the National Taekwondo Centre here in Manchester. It’s only when asked about his aspirations – it quickly becomes clear that there’s more to him than meets the eye.
With Taekwondo joining the ranks of other Paralympic sports at Tokyo 2020, Tyler wants to one day earn himself the coveted number 1 spot on the podium and hopes to put Para Taekwondo on the map along the way!
Tyler and his coach, Jason Featherstone recently spoke to us about the hurdles he faces every day and why he can’t get enough of kicking people in the head…
An avid sports fan, Tyler began his journey with swimming but with no chance of progression quickly switched to football and kickboxing.
“I was doing kickboxing but because I was finding it a little bit hard – I was told about a nearby taekwondo club (Boston Quest) and thought I’d try it out, that’s where I met my coach, Jason.
I look up to him because he helps me when I’m fighting and is really good at it.”
Similarly, to Britain’s leading Para Taekwondo athlete, Amy Truesdale, Tyler regularly trains with his able-bodied peers at his local club, “I have a session every Tuesday, where I’ll do stretching and practice kicking on a pad with everyone.”
Constantly eager to learn more, Tyler is known for taking up extra sessions whenever he can and has even given his mum the odd kick or two, “I’ll be making a cup of tea and I’ll get a foot to the ribs or my head.” says Tyler’s mum, Zoe laughingly.
“I’ve also recently had my first grading too which I’ve done purely to help Tyler from a technical viewpoint.”
It’s clear to see that the sport itself has helped the youngster in many ways, not just inside the ring but out of it too, “…it’s definitely filled him with confidence, especially in school and even on the street – when people stare at him or ask questions, he’s no longer afraid to answer them and even makes jokes to break the ice or high fives them!”
When asked about which competition he has enjoyed taking part in the most, there’s no doubt about it, “The Yorkshire one-to-one where I beat my opponent 8-1 and my favourite kick I did was the hook kick.”
Coach Jason also describes the difficulties they are faced with when on the mats, “You never really know what you’re dealing with until the day of competition.”
He continued: “We usually have a few able-bodied opponents but at the last minute they tend to drop out, there’s not really enough talent for Tyler to spar with so we try and encourage anyone who wants to get involved to do so.”
“At Quest our mission is to ensure everybody has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Tyler has a dream to be a Paralympic Gold medallist and we will do everything possible to make that dream a reality.”
There’s no doubt that Taekwondo has changed Tyler’s life in many ways and his sights are now set on one day competing at the National Championships.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to compete for Great Britain in Para Taekwondo, contact firstname.lastname@example.org