The Edinburgh-based Scottish Taekwondo Academy has delivered eight national champions at the recent British Taekwondo Championships – the highest number ever to emerge from a Scottish club.
Founded in 2009, several students affiliated to the club also picked up seconds and thirds in what proved to be a hugely successful voyage to the Coventry Skydome.
Instructor James Watson, a two-times world champion who also secured first place in the middleweight category at the event, is delighted that the club is finally receiving recognition, and is predicting even better things in 2013.
Watson said: “It’s the best feeling ever. I cannot express how happy I am with a result like this. I am actually happier for them than I was for myself when I won my first world title. There is a connection now between the coach and his fighters and I am just so passionate for them to achieve great things. I think this is something Scotland as a nation is missing and don’t believe anyone is pushing the guys to the limit.
“I was hoping to achieve a result like this. But I never really thought too much about it and was more focused on building towards the World Championships which are in July next year in Coventry as well.”
Watson believes he possesses talent at the club capable of going that extra step and bringing home a world title. With such enthusiasm himself to put Taekwondo in Edinburgh on the map, there is every chance Watson will one day see his dreams become reality.
He said: “I really believe I have a couple of world champions in the making within my class. I can now say I have some of the best in Britain but I want to take it to that next stage and say we have the best in the world. I’d love to find another world champion from Scotland. I want to promote my guys as much as I can and get them out there fighting for world titles and not just national.
“I really want them to make a go of it because they get promised the world in sports like football. I hope to take Taekwondo in Edinburgh to that next level.”
Callum Preston, 15, was one of those to become a British champion, and he admits he did not envisage such success prior to the event in the West Midlands. However, the victory has given him the impetus to progress and fulfil his potential. Preston said: “This is my first big title I have won.
“I’ve won fight nights and what have you and I was confident going down there that I could get something, maybe a bronze or silver, but I didn’t expect to win. I’m ecstatic at winning the British title but I just want to keep improving all the time and I’m looking forward to the World Championships next year.”
Two-times British champion Finley Pattman, eight, displays a confidence that stretches way beyond his tender years. He said: “I found it a bit easier this time around from winning my last British Championship. I hope to win a trophy at the World Championships.”
The Scottish Taekwondo Academy’s eight British champions are: James Watson, Finley Pattman, Lewis Harrison, Georgia Young, Callum Preston, Saul Sztor, Sean Ehsani and Aidan Cowin.