Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Monday, 5 December 2011

Taekwondo team put London to the test

Taekwondo world champion Sarah Stevenson with School Reporters
Taekwondo world champion Sarah Stevenson chatted to School Reporters about her hopes for London 2012

By Ajmal, Hasanur and Ibrahim, Year 9
From Langdon School in Newham

On Saturday 3 December, we went to the Excel Centre to be part of one of the London Prepares test events which are being organised ahead of London 2012.

We came to report on the international taekwondo event as our school is going be a training venue for the taekwondo athletes before the Olympics.

We had a glimpse at some international taekwondo matches and it was as if we were part of the 2012 Games itself!

The competition area was professional looking and the spotlights concentrated on the fighting mat area.

When we first walked in we saw a match between Mexico and Israel. It was tense because of how physical it was getting, and with only two seconds left the Israeli athlete made the match go to sudden death. But Mexico won it in the end.

Interview action

As well as watching some of the action we managed to interview some of the people involved.

We've got strong athletes, we've got a strong team so we've got a good chance.
Steve Jennings, Great Britain coach

One person we spoke to was the Great Britain squad coach Steve Jennings. He answered our questions in detail and told us he has been involved in taekwondo for 23 years, first as a fighter himself until 2007 and now as a coach. He said he uses this experience in his coaching.

We asked him about how he thinks the GB team will do at the 2012 Olympics. He said: "We've got strong athletes, we've got a strong team so we've got a good chance."

We also spoke to some of the competitors and Team GB squad. During the lunch break we grabbed 16-year-old Jamie Abley, who recently won a bronze medal at the Junior European Championships.

He told us he started doing taekwondo when he was five. He lives the sport and told us he thinks it has kept him away from trouble.

Towards 2012

Jamie isn't ready to compete at London 2012 but he hopes to be in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

He thinks that with the home crowd the London Games will have "a great atmosphere" and be "the best Olympics ever!"

We also spoke to another GB athlete, Julian Marton. He had competed earlier in the day in the 68kg category.

However, he couldn't continue as he injured his knee during the fight when something went wrong with his second kick. When we spoke to him he was using crutches.

GB taekwondo fighter Josh Webley and Germany's Levent Tuncat.
GB athlete Josh Webley held his own in the first round of the quarter-final match

Julian told us that the main reason he started doing taekwondo was because his dad is an ex-fighter. He will probably need his dad the most now as he was hoping to be picked for the Olympics but might miss them as his knee will need up to six months of recovery.

We hope he will be fully fit for May when Team GB will announce who will be representing the country in the 2012 Olympics.

The final match we watched was between Team GB fighter Josh Webley and Germany's Levent Tuncat. The crowd were really cheering on Josh and he was winning 2-1 in the first round but then the German came back with a vengeance and with vicious combination kicks and finally won 7-3.

It was disappointing he lost but our day finished on a high as we managed to grab a five minute interview with none other than Team GB's very own current world champion Sarah Stevenson!

A word with the world champion!

Sarah told us how she started doing taekwondo when she was seven years old and that it has made her more confident.

School Reporter Ajmal puts questions to Sarah Stevenson
Sarah Stevenson was pleased to get a feel of the Olympic venue ahead of 2012

Although she wasn't competing at this event she said it is "good to get a bit of an insight and to get a feel for it" ahead of the Olympics next summer.

Sarah told us that you have to be psychologically and physically ready for a taekwondo match.

She said: "For me the physical side is the easy part but the mental side of it is tough because if you're not mentally ready on the day it doesn't matter how fit you are, how strong you are - if you're not ready in your head then it isn't going to happen, not for me anyway."

Sarah said being the world champion is "amazing" but her dream is to win in 2012: "I just want the gold in London now!"

We will definitely cheer for her and the whole GB taekwondo team to do well and welcome them to the training venue at our school before the Games!



SEE ALSO
Sarah Stevenson's guide to taekwondo
11 Apr 08 |  Taekwondo
What makes a top taekwondo player?
29 May 07 |  Taekwondo
2010 YSPOTY contenders: Jade Jones Q&A
30 Nov 10 |  School Report


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