Updated: Saturday, 11th July 2020 @ 7:39am

Team GB Taekwondo Academy athletes encourage public to attend European Championships in Manchester

Team GB Taekwondo Academy athletes encourage public to attend European Championships in Manchester

 By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent

Taekwondo’s European Championships are coming to the Manchester Regional Arena in May – and Team GB's elite athletes want you to join them there. 

The competition, spanning four days between May 3-6, is the first time the European Championships have been held in Great Britain and is the last major tournament before London 2012. 

Damon Sansum, who won gold in last weekend’s German Open in the -80kg weight band, is looking forward to competing in front of the Manchester public.

He said: “It would be nice for the public to support a local sport like taekwondo where all the athletes train in Manchester. 

“It’s getting more flamboyant and easy on the eye for spectators – the new electronic system helps, it’s made the sport more exciting to watch.”

The team for London 2012 is due to be announced shortly after the European Championships, with the inter-squad battle to reach the Olympics being decided in four crucial tournaments – the last of which is next weekend, the Dutch Open. 

However, the Euro’s are a highly prestigious tournament and Martin Stamper, currently the front runner in the-68kg weight class for London, is quick to note that.

He said: “The Euro’s are massive, and for those of us not going to the Olympics, it’s still a big tournament.” 

“It’s not often you can see top class taekwondo in Great Britain – except for once a year at the British Open.  This could act as a practice run for the Olympics. “

“There’s a great atmosphere at SportsCity – especially if the crowd get behind the GB fighters which I’m sure they will.”  

Damon agrees that the public have been more and more receptive of taekwondo as less mainstream sports benefit from the added exposure of a home Olympics.

“People have been very supportive.  When I’m in my GB tracksuit out and about people smile and say hello – they want to know what I’m doing and are interested to find out our Academy is in Manchester.”  

There is also the prospect of seeing home town athletes Michael Harvey and Jordan Gayle in action should they be selected for the Championships.

For up to date information on the tournament, visit www.gbtaekwondo.com – to book tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk  

Follow Steven Oldham on Twitter - @spoldham