Taekwon-do Scotland is hosting its biggest-ever taekwondo tournament next month in Motherwell.
A record 600 athletes will take part in the Taekwondo Scotland Championships on September 2 and 3.
Being held at the Ravenscraig Sports Facility, the world class event has attracted top fighters who are going for gold – not just from Scotland and the rest of the UK but also from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Holland, Germany, Ireland and Jordan.
It follows on from the success of the 2014 Commonwealth Championships and the 2016 Scottish Championships held at Edinburgh’s Meadowbank Stadium.
Taekwon-do is one of the fastest-growing sports in Scotland and has been boosted by Team GB’s performance at last year’s Olympics in Rio where 2012 Olympic champion Jade Jones retained her title, Bianca Walkden won bronze and Lutalo Muhammad took silver.
In Motherwell Scottish interest will include Erin Shaw (pictured on back page) and Neve Hogg from Falkirk. Both girls have recently been selected to represent the UK at the European Championships in Hungary later this year and they will be out to make their mark on home soil.
Taekwon-do Scotland chairman Martin Hold said: “I’m delighted to say it’s the biggest taekwon-do event our organisation has ever hosted and it promises to be a cracker.
“We’re attracting worldwide interest in our championships because of the warm and friendly Scottish welcome athletes will receive and the excellent organisation by our officials.“It’s going to be a wonderful weekend featuring some top class taekwon-do athletes.”
Two taekwon-do disciplines will be featured in the championships.
The first day is given over to poomsae - a set of stances, blocks, punches and kicks logically arranged in response to attacks from multiple imaginary assailants.
Day two is kyorugi – fast, spectacular, thrilling combat as seen in the Olympic Games in which two athletes fight against each other using lightning-fast moves and spectacular kicks.
An army of enthusiastic volunteers from clubs the length and breadth of Scotland will ensure the smooth running of the event – from arranging transport and hotels to operating computers and scoreboards.
Event director is 8th Dan Grand Master David Bailey from Larbert.
He said: “It’s going to be a fantastic event at a fantastic venue.
Everything is in place to welcome our participants and my team and I are committed to giving them a fun and memorable time in Scotland.”
Taekwon-do, meaning literally “the art of the hand and the foot”, originated in Korea more than 1000 years ago and today is practiced in 188 countries around the world. Some 70 million people participate, four million of whom are black belts.