European test for martial artists

MEMBERS of a martial arts team based in Lyde Green will be pitting themselves against Europe’s best this month.

Fishponds Taekwondo Academy, which is based at Lyde Green Community Centre, will send a team to the International Taekwondo Federation European Championships, which will take place in Cardiff, from July 18-21.

The team qualified earlier this year at the UK ITF Finals Day in Reading, where three members won national titles and two won silver.

Another 16 medals were won at the Elite Martial Arts Professionals competition at Thornbury Leisure Centre in April: four gold, nine silver and three bronze.

A further 17 – five gold, six silver and six bronze – were won by a team from the academy at the South-West Open Championships in Paignton in May, with the group also supplying four umpires and three coaches on the day to help out.

Instructor Gavin Reader, who is a 3rd degree black belt in the Korean-based martial art and has been a sports coach for two decades, said he was proud of the students’ efforts.

He said: “Not many people make it to black belt, even fewer compete and then only a small percentage make it to finals.

“It takes guts to step on the mat and I think those who take part in competitions should be proud of their achievements – whether they win medals or not.

“Each of the competitors is a credit to the club and their family. They are inspirational young people who have shown grit and determination to get to this stage, and I’m extremely proud to train with them.

“We look forward to watching the team represent Fishponds and the UK on the international stage this summer.”

Gavin and instructor Simon Herrington, who is also a 3rd degree black belt, both took up the sport after their young daughters signed up.

Gavin said: “We pride ourselves on being a family-friendly club and have many siblings train together, as well as parents and their children.”

The club trains at Lyde Green Community Centre every Wednesday and Friday.

For more information, contact Gavin on 07500 764276 or email