City taekwondo club impress at British Championships in Manchester
THE BEST yet was the justifiably proud boast of South Hams Taekwondo Club coach Dave Desforges after seeing his young fighters win a fistful of prizes at their sport's national championships.
South Hams TC, who train in Plymouth, not only came away with their biggest medal haul from the annual British Taekwondo Championships, but they achieved a top-12 finish from a cast-list of 73 clubs from around the UK, including Northern Ireland.
Desforges praised his players for their achievements at the nationals which where staged at the Manchester Velodrome.
He said: "Despite having only a small team, we came 12th and through their (players) hard work, we have become the most successful club in the South West.
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"I have no doubt the best is yet to come. I am extremely proud of their hard work, determination and dedication.
"They all fought very well and the younger athletes show great promise for the future."
The South Hams group won medals of every hue, including two golds, three silvers, four bronzes and near-podium experiences for two more of their players.
The pair who missed out were child male category player, Matthew Howell, who lost his 34kgs quarter-final, while the unluckiest fighter has to be Michael Nutbrown.
Nutbrown fought his way to the final of the cadet -33kgs category, only to be disqualified owing to an administrative error by South Hams TC when filling out his application to compete.
Desforges praised and commiserated with Nutbrown, and was eager to play down the individual winning performances and instead concentrate on the contribution of all the athletes.
Siblings Jack and Beth Worthington both won silver medals – the former in the junior male -45kgs and his sister in the -46kgs category.
But Beth Worthington was able to compete in both junior and for the first time, senior age categories.
It was a brilliant bow for Beth as she went one better in the older division and added a gold medal to double her tally.
South Hams' other gold medal winner was 11-year-old Vivienne Wilkes, who belied her youth by topping the child female +43kgs category.
Bronze medals were won by South Hams quartet of Maisie Large (senior female advanced -62kg), Katie Bradley (junior female advanced -44kgs), Josie Dunn (child female -43kgs) and Jade Watson (child female -43kg).