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National Taekwondo Centre Set For £2.7 Million Refurbishment Boost

A Manchester ‘medal factory’ is poised for a £2.7 million expansion for the benefit of Great Britain’s Rio 2016 hopefuls and for Mancunian youngsters with aspirations to become a future Olympic champion.

When work is completed later this year, nearly 130 athletes, coaches and administration staff will be under the same roof for the first time since the city became GB’s spiritual home for the ancient Korean martial art in 2007.

The new state of the art National Taekwondo Centre in Newton Heath has been funded with £2.7m from Sport England and Manchester City Council, both of whom are working closely with elite sport experts from GB Taekwondo and UK Sport to develop a world class, purpose built training venue for British athletes.

As well as providing for elite athletes, the Centre will support the development of GB Taekwondo’s next generation of champions through its Sport England backed ‘Talent’ programme. Becoming a hub for grass roots community initiatives will also be an important part of the Centre’s remit.

Work has recently started at the Ten Acre Lane site with the project’s contractor, Balfour Beatty, in conjunction with Manchester architects AEW, and is expected to take around seven months to complete.

However, the GB Academy doors will remain open throughout as the countdown continues to the upcoming World Championships in Russia (May 12-18) and next year’s Olympics in Rio.

London raised Olympic bronze medalist, Lutalo Muhammad, a winner of the US Open earlier this year, is now an adopted Mancunian and can’t wait to train and prepare at the Newton Heath facility. “The GB Academy has already had a huge impact on my life but the support we are now receiving to expand our training centre will take us to a new level” said Muhammad.

“When I first moved to Manchester there were probably only about 12 athletes training here. Now, it is has changed beyond recognition and at all levels.

“The new National Taekwondo Centre will ensure we have the very best facilities, equipment and support services at our disposal. And to have this all in one place will be massive for us.

“It’s going to provide a great boost in the lead up to the Olympics and I’m hugely excited by what is happening.”

Steve Flynn, GB Taekwondo’s Operations Director, said: “In the eight years since Manchester became home to taekwondo in Great Britain, athletes have used a variety of training facilities throughout the city while administration and support staff have been based in separate offices.

“Now, we are all coming together under one roof and the National Taekwondo Centre will have a real, positive impact at every level of the sport and none more so than on our Olympic preparations for Rio 2016.

“To achieve world class performances, athletes and staff need access to world class training facilities. This National Centre will provide that and it is testament to the strong working relationship between Sport England, UK Sport, Manchester City Council, Eastlands Trust and GB Taekwondo and a commitment to developing a network of Elite Training Centres across the country.

“it is also important to note that the National Centre will not only be home to some of the world’s best athletes, it will also allow members of the local community to train alongside our GB squad, inspiring future generations of taekwondo stars.”

Councillor Rosa Battle, Manchester City Council executive member for culture and leisure, said: “Manchester is home to GB Taekwondo and I am proud to see the expansion of the nation centre in Newton Heath, it will allow our athletes to develop while also help the growth of the sport.

“The success of the World Taekwondo Grand Prix, which has been held in Manchester for the last three years, has shown there is a real appetite for the sport and the new centre will allow us to build on that interest.

“The National Taekwondo Centre, like all the world-class sports facilities across the city, will not just be for elite athletes but open to local residents too, I’m sure it will inspire even more people to try the martial art.”

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