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2018-2021 Development Programme

The Olympic journey begins here:

Whatever your Martial Art background – if you are interested in one day becoming a fulltime athlete, who trains in a world class environment and works with a dedicated coaching and support team to develop an individualised programme, which may result in you being an Olympian representing Great Britain, then read on…

On a personal level you will need an abundance of ambition, resilience, determination and patience to follow this journey through.

On a sporting level you will need to demonstrate a number of key attributes if you are to be successful. Amongst the most important of these attributes will be:

  • The ‘want’ to fight
  • Commitment to a long-term journey
  • Tactical and technical proficiency
  • An X-factor that separates you from the rest

The primary Development Programme objective is to:

‘Identify, recruit and develop athletes across all future Olympic weight categories who demonstrate potential to succeed at Senior World & Olympic Games’.

The Development Programme is a Sport England funded camp based programme delivered at the National Taekwondo Centre, Manchester. Through this programme we are looking to recruit and engage with the highest potential athletes regardless of their Martial Art background or origin.

Typically, the programme trains four day days per month spread across two weekends.  The Development Programme is led by a dedicated fulltime coach supported by a team of contracted coaches and Sport Science and Medicine staff i.e., nutritionist, physiotherapist, strength and conditioning etc.

Throughout the development programme the key emphasis is to focus on individual athlete progression through building upon current strengths, enhancing weaknesses, developing individual player identity and holistic personal development.

Underpinning this holistic development will be the GB Taekwondo Player Development Framework, [PDF] (see visual PDF pathway) which emphasises the importance of personal growth and equipping players for a long term development journey above immediate medal success at development level.

In addition to domestic training opportunities, for some of the squad further overseas training camps designed to challenge an athletes’ ability to adapt and perform outside of their normal training environment will be available.

There will also be access to a series of workshops for both athletes and parents to support them to share the development journey of their sons/daughters.  Finally, there will be opportunities for selected athletes on a performance trajectory to be included in teams for Junior Major Championships, European / World’s.

Over the course of the development journey athletes will be required to demonstrate progression not only in their personal development but significantly also in their skill acquisition, technical and tactical application and their physical robustness to establish the skillset to enable athletes to thrive in the Academy environment.

At a minimum, on an annual basis all members of the ‘Development Programme’ will be reviewed against their agreed individualised development objectives which can lead to one of three outcomes, retention on the ‘Development Programme’, deselection from the ‘Development Programme’ or promotion to the full-time Academy Programme.

Where there is overwhelming and consistent evidence both tangible and subjective, that an athlete is progressing at a desirable level they may be identified for ‘promotion’ into the full-time Academy programme where they will be expected to be able to thrive within a world class environment.

Through Sport England funding the ‘Development Programme’ will cover the majority of costs incurred to deliver a training camp, however athletes will contribute £38.00 per night where a training camp requires overnight accommodation.

Athletes will also need to cover their own travel costs to and from the National Taekwondo Centre.

For those athletes selected to attend a Major Championships typically an athlete will contribute toward their individual flight, accommodation costs, their entry fee and GBR attire.

The exact squad size may vary year on year typically however the Development Programme will select a mixed gender training group of approximately 32 athletes.

This size is based on maximising athlete/coach ratio to provide an enhanced athlete development environment and reflects the full-time Academies stated ambition to develop 4 athletes in every Olympic weight category. [-49, -57, -67 and +67 kg for the females, and -58, -68, -80 or +80 kg for the males].

Connected to the primary objective of the Development Programme, there is a need to recognise and select potential talent across all future Olympic weight categories. For this reason, selection will be influenced by predicted future potential, predicted future medal opportunities and future availability of positions within the full-time Academy programme.

Future access to the Development Programme for all athletes will be via ‘Fighting Chance 13-18’.  This will be an annual process through which GB Taekwondo will select its Development Programme cohort and which all athletes, new and existing, will be expected to follow should they wish to begin/continue their journey within the Development Programme which leads to the Academy with GB Taekwondo.

Athletes not currently involved with WT sports taekwondo may wish to find a local club using the below link to British Taekwondo, (BT).  BT is the National Governing Body, (NGB), which is associated with World Taekwondo (WT).

There are two disciplines with the WT, Poomsae and Kyorugi. Kyorugi is the pathway towards future Olympic representation which the Development Programme aspires toward.


Development Programme Manager: Steve Green – steve.green@gbtaekwondo.co.uk

Development Coach: Romaine Bailey – romaine.bailey@gbtaekwondo.co.uk

Talent Officer: Aislín O’Kelly – aislin.okelly@gbtaekwondo.co.uk

Talent Scout: Derek Morgan – derek.morgan@gbtaekwondo.co.uk

Contracted Coaches:

Jordan Gayle

Rich Fairhurst


How do I get involved in the Development Programme and what is the recruitment process?

‘Fighting Chance 13-18’ is the annual open recruitment process accessible to all Martial Arts backgrounds for athletes aged 13-18 to enter the GB Taekwondo Development Programme.

‘Fighting Chance 13-18’ is open to athletes from any martial arts background who can meet the below criteria:

  • British citizen
  • 13-18 years of age in the year of competition (i.e. born in the years; 2007 – 2003)
  • Have sparring experience

*Note for athletes born 2003, only exceptional athletes will be considered for the Development Programme.

  1. Application to ‘Fighting Chance 13-18’.

All athletes new and existing must attend the ‘Fighting Chance 13-18’ recruitment:

  • Fighting Chance 13-18 will take place over two weekends and will aim to review athletes from all martial art backgrounds with a passion to be a future sport Taekwondo Olympian.
  • In light of Covid19, the initiative that was due to take place in 2020 has been deferred to 2021.
  • Phase 1 of ‘Fighting Chance 13-18’ is now scheduled for 16th-19th August 2021.
  • Applications will open from 5th July and will close on 2nd August.
  • Once the deadline has passed, players will be allocated one of the above dates to attend a ‘Phase 1 – Assessment day’
  1. ‘Fighting Chance 13-18’ – Phase 1 ‘Assessment day’
  • Players are invited to Manchester to engage in an assessment test match where coaches will observe for the athlete’s desire to fight, their resilience throughout the match irrespective of score and the presence of an identifiable X-factor.

Athletes successfully shortlisted from the ‘Phase 1 – Assessment day’ will be notified with an invitation to attend a ‘bootcamp’ weekend.

  • There will be two separate ‘bootcamp’ weekends at which we will aim to further challenge and review athletes with a passion and commitment to be a future Taekwondo Olympian.
  • The first bootcamp (males) will take place from 4th-5th September 2021
  • The second (females) will be held during 11th-12th September 2021
  1. ‘Fighting Chance 13-18’ – Phase 2 ‘Bootcamp’
  • Successful athletes from phase 1 will be invited to attend a weekend ‘Bootcamp’ in Manchester where a combination of test matches and training situations will challenge players to demonstrate their ability to learn and apply this to their performance. Coaches will have a further opportunity to assess players against the below criteria:
  • Ability to cope in pressure situations.
  • Ability to engage in training, to be proactive and demonstrate a hunger to learn.
  • Ability to work out opponents and find a way to score.

Players will also undertake sessions with a number of GB Taekwondo Sport Science and Medicine team:

  • Medical screening – Conducted by our team of physiotherapists, to establish baseline medical and physical wellbeing of athletes.
  • Interviews – To explore players understanding of their playing journey, their aspirations, and expectations should they be offered a place on the ‘Development Programme’.
  1. Invited to the Development Programme:

Athletes who have successfully progressed through phase 1 ‘Assessment’ and phase 2 ‘Bootcamp’ will be notified by invitation to take up a place on the Development Programme for the subsequent 12 month period.  Should players wish to receive written feedback this must be requested in writing after each stage of selection.

Note: All stages of recruitment as well as the Development Programme will be delivered at the National Taekwondo Centre, Manchester.

Non selection can be based on a number of reasons.

The reason we recruit athletes for the Development Programme is to try to provide an optimal training environment to best challenge, develop and progress an individual within a training environment with like-minded elite athletes.

Each weight category will typically have different requirements and result in athletes with different qualities being selected in each weight category.

Athletes not selected at this stage should be encouraged to persist, and in-between selection moments to continue to evolve, develop and progress as an individual before re-application the following year.

The development team will meet to discuss and feedback on an athletes’ progression or otherwise within 2 weeks of each selection point, ‘Phase 1 – Assessment day’ and Phase 2 ‘Bootcamp’.

It is important athletes try to attend this date so that the coaching team can make a balanced judgement when selecting the squad, comparing the same weight categories together. 

However, in highly exceptional cases there is scope to consider athletes outside of this date. If you have any queries with this, please contact the development team.

In addition, if an athlete is exceptionally talented, is of a priority weight category, and is of interest to the programme, the development team has scope to ‘see’ athletes throughout the year outside of the ‘Fighting Chance 13-18’ process.  The Talent Scout is the first point of contact for athletes who do not come into the Development programme via the Draft selection process.

The next dates will be published nearer the time on the website, however they are anticipated to be late October 2018.

If you meet the pre-requisite criteria stated, have the attributes listed and are committed to a sporting journey in Taekwondo then please complete the application process via the link embedded within the website.


The central philosophy for the PDF is:

Building robust and receptive Taekwondo players who can thrive in the world class training and competition environment’

‘… to cultivate a positive and nurturing environment which supports athletes with all aspects of their development and performance on and off the matt via a systematically individualised approach which is embraced by all coaches and coaching support staff’

Aside from the technical and tactical mastery, the programme is committed to athlete progression to include  behaviours skillsets that will aid their ability/readiness to thrive within an elite training environment, as well as, aiding athletes if they are selected into the World Class Performance (WCP).

To this end the Development team has identified six key pillars outlined below, that emphasise behaviours that compliment elite performance.

In addition, identified athletes may also be exposed to selected Academy training opportunities which is designed to enhance their understanding of the Academy programme, as well as, to demonstrate readiness to graduate to the full time Academy programme.

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