NATIONAL TAEKWONDO CHAMPIONSHIPS LONDON MOVE BRING CAPITAL GAINS
On the back of the most successful Olympic Games ever for British taekwondo fighters, this weekend’s National Championships will provide another notable landmark for the sport.
More than 900 competitors-a record for the event-will be in action over Saturday and Sunday at the Copper Box Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Athletes of all ages and ability have responded to the decision to hold the Championships in the capital for the first time.
Coupled with an opportunity to enjoy London’s non-sporting attractions, the event is also set to break attendance records as well.
But it’s the taekwondo action which will capture most attention especially after the performances of GB Taekwondo stars at Rio 2016.
Jade Jones successfully defended her -57kg title, Lutalo Muhammad added silver to his London 2012 bronze at -80kg while world champion, Bianca Walkden, claimed bronze in the female heavyweight division.
With thoughts already turning to Tokyo 2020 and Britain’s front line aces taking a well-earned break, it’s chance for some of the participants to show they have the potential to be on the plane to Japan in four years’ time.
Competitors like Owen Turner, the reigning European Cadet champion, Neve Hogg-Euro bronze medallist-and last year’s European gold medallist at the same level, Jordyn Smith-.
There’s also 2015 European Junior Championship bronze medallists, Leah Moorby and Cameron Booth plus 2015 European Cadet third placers, Matthew Guest and Holly Kelly.
Not every entrant will attain international status but they come with the common aim of achieving personal targets and helping their club to potential success.
With the Nationals moved to London, all conquering Gurumu, with bases in East Ham and Hammersmith, will be out to retain the overall club title they won in Manchester 12 months ago.
Gurumu finished with 284 points-equating to 15 gold medals, 10 silvers and 11 bronze. Team Ultimate from Doncaster finished second with South Coast based BTS came third. In total medals were won down to 72nd position.
Steve Flynn, Operations Director for GB Taekwondo, says: “We’re delighted to be bringing the Nationals to London and the Olympic Park for the first time, thanks to the Mayor of London’s office and GLL. We hope it’s the first of many top class events to be staged in the capital as we turn our attention towards Tokyo 2020.
“It’s a great opportunity for clubs and athletes from across the UK to compete in an Olympic venue and the response has been fantastic with a record number of entries for the tournament. We have an exciting weekend of taekwondo in store and we hope all of the participants enjoy the experience.”