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2018-2022 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 £40.00 per night when a training camp requires overnight accommodation (this fee is reviewed annually).

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 the ‘Talent Draft’.  This process will take place yearly which will involve GB Taekwondo selecting its Development Programme cohort.

All athletes (new and existing) will be expected to follow the process if they wish to begin or continue their journey within the Development Programme, which could potentially lead to the senior 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

Contracted Coaches:

Jordan Gayle

Rich Fairhurst


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

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

The ‘Talent Draft’ 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: 2005* – 2010)
  • Have sparring experience

*Note for fighters born in 2005, only exceptional athletes will be considered for the Development Programme.

Application to the ‘Talent Draft’.

All athletes new and existing must attend the ‘Talent Draft’ recruitment days.

  • The entire initiative will take place at the National Taekwondo Centre in Manchester.
  • Its aim is to review athletes from all martial art backgrounds with a passion to be a future Olympian in Taekwondo.
  • The event is scheduled for August 2023, please see below for exact dates of each phase.
  • We will be accepting applications soon and will confirm the date on the GB Taekwondo website.
  • Once the deadline has passed, players will be given one of the above dates to attend a ‘Phase 1 – Assessment day’.

Phase 1 ‘Assessment day’

Monday 14th, Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th August 2023

  • Players are invited to engage in a test match which will be assessed by GB’s coaches and Performance Director.
  • They will observe the athlete’s desire to fight, their resilience throughout the match (regardless of the score) and the presence of an ‘X-factor’.

Athletes successfully shortlisted from the ‘Phase 1’ will be notified with an invitation to attend a ‘boot camp’ weekend.

  • There will be two separate ‘bootcamp’ weekends.
  • Their aim is to challenge athletes even further and review their passion and commitment to become a future Taekwondo Olympian.
  • The dates for both bootcamps (for female and male fighters) can be viewed below.

Phase 2 ‘Bootcamp’

Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September 2023 (females)

Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th September 2023 (males)

  • It will involve a combination of test matches and training situations that will challenge players to demonstrate their ability to learn and apply this to their performances.
  • Coaches will have a further opportunity to assess players against the criteria below:
  1. The ability to cope in pressurised situations.
  2. The Capability to engage in training, to be proactive and demonstrate a hunger to learn.
  3. The skill to work out opponents and find a way to score.

Players will also undertake sessions with some of the GB Taekwondo Sport Science and Medicine staff, this will include:

  • A medical screening – conducted by our team of physiotherapists, to establish baseline medical/physical wellbeing of athletes.
  • Interviews – to explore players understanding of their journey, their aspirations and expectations if they were offered a place on the ‘Development Programme’.

Phase 3

Friday 13th and Saturday 14th October 2023 (females)

Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th October 2023 (males)

  • Phase three is the final stage of the initiative and will evaluate fighters one last time before being accepted onto the programme.
  • It will allow athletes to experience what a typical weekend in the Development Squad looks like and will also be held at the National Taekwondo Centre in Manchester.

Invited to the Development Programme:

Fighters who have successfully gotten through all phases will be notified by invitation to take up a place on the Development Programme for the following 12-month period.

If players would like to receive written feedback, this must be requested in writing after each stage of selection.

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 ‘Talent Draft’ 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.

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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