Meet Midhurst’s martial medallists

Members of the South Downs Tae Kwondo Group
Members of the South Downs Tae Kwondo Group
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Midhurst is home to a major haul of tae kwondo championship medals thanks to a sterling performance by martial artists who travelled to the south eastern regional tournament in Crawley.

Lucy Tucker (nine) won gold in the peewee group, while Lucy van Zwanenberg (13) took bronze in the individual middleweight girls’ competition. She was also first in the tag team event when she teamed up with Catherine Pearson from Andover and Nikki Francis from Bourne.

Her brother Oliver (15) won silver in the individual heavyweight boys’ category. Among the adults, Paul Kingswell formed a tag team with Dean Roberts and Gary Mitchell from Bognor and came third in the red/black belt sparring.

“It was a tough competition this year,” said Kingswell. “We all took a few knocks. There were some strong teams to beat, but we were determined to get into the medals.”

The next challenge for Kingswell and Roberts will be their black belt grading; both are eligible to enter and are working hard on the preparations.

Joe Tucker (11) said the day was a great experience even though he was just squeezed off the podium in the boys’ lightweight individuals.

The South Downs Tae Kwondo club have been running at Midhurst Rother College’s sports hall (Mondays and Wednesdays from 7.15pm) for about five years and instructor Alan Burnell says the competition results represent a coming of age.

“Earlier this year Oliver and Lucy became our first home grown black belts and we could potentially produce several more in the coming year. Our competition results have been improving steadily and it is notable how many members are keen to progress in both competing and grading,” he said.

Taekwondo is an Olympic sport, with Britain tipped to do well in 2012.