A GB Taekwondo star from St Clears, Wales is hoping that a fully integrated event where attendees will watch the world’s best para-athletes in the Manchester Grand Prix in December can help to inspire more people to get involved in the sport.
Matt Bush, 34, was a former Brazilian Jujitsu fighter before he made the switch to Taekwondo and in 2019 became Britain’s first ever male Para Taekwondo athlete to win a World Championships.
This is the first time that the para events have been fully integrated, and Bush explained: “I think GB Taekwondo have always wanted integrated para events and have always been pushing for it.
“It does just make sense, we are a division within the sport and it doesn’t have to be a whole separate thing.
“It is slightly different for everyone involved but it is just way better to have everything together it just makes sense.
“We are a team here so we all train together, all the different weights. We eat in the same kitchen, we spend a lot of time together but were then going to competitions separately.”
With the Grand Prix being held in Manchester between December 1st-December 3rd, it is a chance for British athletes to compete on home soil and Bush said: “It is good to have people you know around and people are going to be cheering and it adds a bit of electricity to the event.
“Having major events on home soil has a broader impact on getting people into the sport and raising awareness for it. It is one of those things where you see it every four years and everyone enjoys it when they watch it at the Olympic or Paralympic Games, but it is giving them an opportunity to have more of an idea of what is going on and you can follow individuals and see how they develop in those four years between games.
“It helps people to gain context on the big stage of who is doing what, what they have gone through, how they like to fight and it helps them to be a bit more informed and it will be more enjoyable.”
The Welsh athlete also commented on how important the visibility of the sport is for those wanting to pick it up, he added: “It has to help to encourage people to try the sport for the first time, if you don’t see the sport and you don’t know it is there you will never think top try it.
“Any sort of exposure like that is going to lead to more chance for more people taking it up and there is a whole system ready to go if you do start excelling at it. Not everyone will want to be an elite athlete so it’s just as important they can take part in the sport for fun and to be active, but the opportunity is there.
“The programme is properly funded with everything in place, so if there are people out there who are ready to do it, just get involved. You never know within a year or two you could be flying.”
To find out more about the World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final 2023 and get tickets, visit https://www.britishtaekwondo.org.uk/manchester-2023-world-taekwondo-grand-prix-final/
Please donate here: Support Carmarthenshire News Online Thank you for supporting independent journalism and contributing to the future of local news in Carmarthenshire. Carmarthenshire News Online has been dedicated to providing unbiased and trustworthy news, free from commercial or political influence. By donating as little as £1, you can help ensure the continuation of this important source of information for the community. Your contribution will have a significant impact on the sustainability of independent journalism. If you're looking to enhance your brand's visibility, we also offer advertising opportunities on our Livestream and podcasts. Our special offers provide excellent value for reaching our engaged audience. To learn more about these opportunities and to discuss your advertising needs, please feel free to call or text us at 07308598604. Thank you again for your support, and together we can ensure the availability of quality local news for Carmarthenshire and beyond.
Please donate here: Support Carmarthenshire News Online