By Jack Holmes
Manchester Metropolitan University’s (Manchester Met/MMU) Taekwondo league champions will make history in July as the first British university team to take part in the International Taekwondo Federation European Championships.
This follows their victorious run at the British University Taekwondo League (BUTL). The BUTL was launched in February by the Manchester Met Taekwondo group’s founder, Ross Sharman. The league featured over 132 participants from over six universities, with the final face off between Bristol and Manchester Met ending 15-6.
Ross explained that he originally set up the league to showcase the talents of his fellow team mates:
“Most of the squad had never competed before and that’s one of the reasons I created the league to give those opportunities. It’s amazing and shows how much effort and talent we have here at the MMU club.
“My hopes for the league are that the BUTL will get noticed by other governing bodies and that it’s recognised that Taekwondo can work in a similar way to other sports.”
Under the tutelage of Sharman, the club has gone from a mere ten members in 2011, to over 40. The fourth degree black belt has been training in the art for 17 years and with his group’s win at the BUTL, has selected a squad for the International Taekwondo Federation European Championships in Poland this July.
Manchester Met is the first British university invited to put in a squad for the official European champs, proving just how far Sharman’s team have come and how impressive their groups results have been.
Sharman’s team is made up of Club Chair Jack Barker, current Vice-Chair Sam Capp, Captain for next year Sarah Elliott, and long-time member Luca Raimo.
Each of these individuals has shown untold promise in their taekwondo careers, with all four boasting a 100% fighting record and Jack Barker ranking number one out of the entire league, winning seven out of seven of his matches.
Sharman praised his group’s efforts in the BUTL and says he has hopes for the future.
“I am very confident they will do well at the championships, we have had offers from huge names to help us if we need it coaching wise and I am selecting two coaches to help me too.
“Win or lose being able to compete is a fantastic opportunity and to represent MMU Sport is even better. I’m also so jealous of them as it took me 9 years to be selected for the European Champs back in 2008. I am so proud of everyone!”
The International Taekwondo Federation European Championships will take place between the 2nd and 3rd of July in Poland.
We know you’ll continue to make MMU proud and good luck in the competition guys!