Most wanted: Opportunity Knocks As GB Comes Calling For Youngsters With Martial Arts Pedigree
GB Taekwondo talent spotters are on the hunt again for the next potential Jade Jones or Lutalo Muhammad.
The sport’s Fighting Chance talent ID initiative has discovered some of taekwondo’s best athletes since it was first launched in 2009 including double Olympic medallist, Muhammad.
Earlier this year 14 prospects were invited to join the GB Academy in Manchester with two of their number, Hassan Haider and Courtney Eardley, recently named in Britain’s squad for next month’s WTF World Taekwondo Championships.
All were drawn from martial arts backgrounds including kickboxing, karate and ITF Taekwondo.
Now the call has gone out again for the next wave of prospects, aged 13-18, to try and make the grade in a scheme funded by Sport England.
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 and Olympic Games.”
Applications, including from those who have narrowly missed out in the past, are now being invited. The closing date for entrants is June 30 2017 after which a selection meeting will determine the successful graduates.
Those who emerge from the process will be invited to male and female boot camps in September.
Lauren Williams, the reigning senior European champion and junior World gold medallist, has welcomed the latest Fighting Chance launch.
Williams joined the GB Academy through the 2013 Battle4Brazil initiative; a group that includes World Championship bronze medallist and European Games gold medallist, Charlie Maddock.
“Fighting Chance changed my life,” says the Welsh starlet.
“It gave me the opportunity to transfer sports and start preparing at elite level amongst the best athletes in the world. It’s given me the chance to pursue my own Olympic ambition.
“My advice for anyone looking to apply for the next Fighting Chance is to just go for it, give it absolutely everything and believe in your ability. You never know what’s around the corner.
“It genuinely is a unique experience and if you’re willing to commit yourself 100% and are willing to sacrifice an awful lot to be on the Olympic stage it’s definitely the best opportunity for you.
“Taekwondo isn’t just a sport for me anymore, it’s a lifestyle.
“It’s allowed me to push myself to my absolute limits and experience things that very few teenagers could get to experience.”
Rio 2016 silver medallist Muhammad and 2015 World Championships silver medallist, Damon Sansum were both chosen through the first Fighting Chance intake.
Williams, 2015 World Championships bronze medallist, Rachelle Booth and European Games Champion Charlie Maddock were selected through the ‘Battle for Brazil’ search.
*To apply for Fighting Chance, please click here.