GB call for Horizon youngsters

Keighley News: Jamie Simpson-Kidd, Ellie Bowden and Karl Harris Jamie Simpson-Kidd, Ellie Bowden and Karl Harris

A trio of youngsters have become the latest members of the Horizon Taekwondo Academy to be accepted to the Great Britain Cadet Development Team.

Horizon coach Rick Simpson recommended Ellie Bowden (aged 13, from Cullingworth), Karl Harris (12, Cottingley) and Jamie Simpson-Kidd (11, Silsden) to attend trials at a national talent identification day at the Great Britain Taekwondo Academy in Manchester.

This involved evaluations of their sparring abilities in matches against other competitors from the cadet team and checked their physical capabilities using a test programme developed by the English Institute of Sport.

Simpson, who is a black belt fourth dan and international referee, said: “The GB Cadet Development Team consists of the top 50-60 taekwondo athletes in the country aged between 11 and 14.

“These are all winners. The standard there is so high, it contains international medallists and also medallists from major championships.

“Ellie, Karl and Jamie are not there just to make up the numbers though, they are there to make an impact and get themselves selected for a major championship like the Cadet European or World Championships.

“The hard work started years ago but harder work lies ahead for these three and they all have the potential and right attitude for it.”

The Horizon students will now be required to train with the GB Cadet Development Team during school holidays and some weekends, as well as continue their training and participation in taekwondo competitions with their club.

Bowden started training when she was five and has since been promoted to black belt, earning two bronze and a silver medal at the British National Championships as well as a haul of other trophies in domestic tournaments, including gold this year at the Yorkshire Open Championships in Bradford.

Simpson said: “She’s a nightmare to coach against. She’s really efficient and clean in her techniques, movement and timing – I wouldn’t want to be in the opposite coaching seat!”

Harris began training when he was nine and is currently a first kup (belt before black). He was crowned British national champion in 2012. He won silver at this year’s Yorkshire Open.

Simpson said: “Karl’s a really tough lad. He can take more punishment in a match than my whole club put together and still win. I really admire this fighter.”

Simpson-Kidd started his training when he was just four. Last year he achieved his black belt second dan and he is a six-time international champion.

His coach said: “Jamie possesses deadly speed and accuracy with his head kicks – which score more points than punches and kicks to the body – and this makes him really appealing to watch.”

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