Medal haul for martial artists

A MARTIAL arts team that trains in Lyde Green is celebrating after members won 17 medals at a national competition.

Students from Fishponds Taekwondo Academy, which moved to the area three years ago, took part in the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) UK Spring National Championships.

The event, which was held in Hatfield, Hertfordshire in February, hosted a range of categories, including patterns and sparring for juniors and adults.

Students came away with 10 gold, two silver and five bronze medals. Three instructors and two students also attended as umpires.

Instructor Gavin Reader, a third-degree black belt, said: “The students work hard throughout the year and competitions are a great way to challenge themselves, while learning from the experience and having fun.

“It’s great to celebrate their achievements. While it’s nice to win medals, the main thing is to keep working on improving your technique and to enjoy the journey.”

Dad-of-three Gavin, who is a project manager for the NHS, has been coaching for more than 20 years.

He said: “It makes a huge difference to know that each and every student is fully supported by its taekwondo family.”

Following a successful grading, 21 students have been promoted to higher ranks.

Gavin said: “The students worked hard and earned their promotion. It’s great to see their continued progress.”

Taekwondo emphasises fast kicking techniques and is said to promote physical and mental strength, improved balance, flexibility, stamina, strength and posture.

The group trains at Lyde Green Community Centre on Willowherb Road every Wednesday and Friday.