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Teenagers Given Fighting Chance to Turn Themselves into World Class Taekwondo Talent

21st May 2021


The next generation of fighters have been identified by GB Taekwondo and are poised to take their places alongside many of the world’s elite.

After a gruelling selection process, a total of nine athletes (four males and five females) have successfully graduated from the Fighting Chance talent ID initiative.

For more than a decade the scheme delivered by GB Taekwondo in partnership with UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport has fast-tracked a plethora of athletes from a variety of martial arts backgrounds into the world of high-performance sport.

Previous graduates include triple European champion, Lauren Williams, World Championship silver medallist, Damon Sansum and double Olympic medallist, Lutalo Muhammad.

The newcomers are:


Jodie McKew, Dollingstown, Craigavon (from Horizon Taekwondo Academy)

Mia Pachansky, Bromley (from Aquila Taekwondo)

Catherine Makanjuola, Eltham (from Aquila Taekwondo)

Kimberley Barnes, Southampton (from Whiston Taekwondo)

Maisie Hockey, Biddenham, Bedford (from Team Ultimate Martial Arts)


Joshua Dancer, Nottingham (from Nottingham Taekwondo Club)

Jacob Fairhead, Farnham, Surrey (from Predator Taekwondo)

Joshua Long, Spennymoor, Durham (from Warrior Taekwondo)

Danyaal Butt, Glasgow (from Elite Martial Arts Academy)

Most of the nine are taekwondo trained including Jodie and Mia who represented GB at the 2018 European Cadet Championships as did Danyaal Butt.

Joshua Long represented GB at the 2019 European Juniors while others come from kickboxing and karate backgrounds.

Northern Ireland prospect Jodie has already sampled senior competition, taking part in this year’s European Championships in Bulgaria.

“The championships made me want to start training full-time straight away so I can’t wait to move to Manchester,” she said.

“My aim is to train as hard as I can every day to get better and improve so I can achieve my goals and dreams.

“When I got through I was so excited and phoned my parents straight away because they have helped me along the way.”

Jacob said: “I was at the dentist with my mum when the email came through.

“I knew what it was but I didn’t want to open it. It was the longest drive home ever. When I saw I had made it I was thrilled and couldn’t stop smiling.”

“I want to learn as much as I can about all aspects of being an athlete to help me progress towards my goal of winning the Olympics.”

The newcomers will move to Manchester to begin their new careers early in July.

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