Tae kwondo alive and kicking in Chichester after Olympics boost

C121152-2 Spt Taekwondo  phot kate''Black Belts, Ian Fullick, trainee instructor and Matt Meecham, senior instructor sparraing.C121152-2
C121152-2 Spt Taekwondo phot kate''Black Belts, Ian Fullick, trainee instructor and Matt Meecham, senior instructor sparraing.C121152-2

The Olympics have taken tae kwondo to a new level – and one club in Chichester hopes to build on it.

Chichester’s Blue Dragon Tae Kwondo club have been steadily growing over ten years and with teenage sensation Jade Jones, winning gold at London 2012, the popularity of the club is now increasing rapidly.

Matt Meecham, Blue Dragon’s senior instructor, has received many calls from people wanting to learn the ancient Korean martial art.

Meecham said: “GB getting gold and bronze medals at the Olympics has really put tae kwando on the map.

“I’ve been getting lots of calls from people wanting to learn the sport.

“Tae kwando is a lot of fun – it keeps you really fit and is brilliant self-defence. We have as many girls as boys training in the club.”

The club have a few young Olympic hopefuls, such as ten-year-old Charlie Simmons, who has become the club’s fifth black belt, and Rowan Crowley, also a black belt and a year older.

Meecham is particularly proud of the junior team.

He said: “We’re the only tae kwando club in the area and are especially proud of our junior team. Chichester now have five junior black belts – the youngest is nine, the oldest 13.”

Charlie and other club members will be showing off their skills at an open evening next Monday, September 24, at the venues where they meet weekly.

For the juniors it’s the New Park Community Centre, New Park Road, from 5.30 to 6.30pm.

Adults can give the sport a try at Chichester College from 7pm to 8.30pm.

The club have a new lottery-funded dojo, said to be the best martial arts facility within a radius of 80 miles.

Meecham said: “I’m really excited about our new dojo – having a world-class facility like this for training will be fantastic.”

Blue Dragon officials are looking forward to welcoming new members hoping to emulate the success of Jones. See www.chichesterbluedragontaekwondo.com for more.

JOSH HARRISON