Report submitted by West Midlands Taekwondo Club

The 5th of November was certainly something to remember for this group of Hagley locals who joined over 1500 competitors to fight for medals in the Taekwondo Association of Great Britain’s British Taekwondo Championships.

The event is the largest in the country, and the TAGB’s biggest event of the year. Hosted at the Birmingham Arena by Chairman of the British Taekwondo Council (BTC) the governing body for all Taekwondo in the UK.

Students of all ages and grades can compete in the amateur coloured belt divisions, before graduating into the Professional Black Belt leagues. Here they can face world champions including Amy Truesdale, James Reed, and Hazel Bracken who travel the world to compete on an international stage.

19 locals, who first stepped into a dojang just to try something new, found themselves standing up to be counted with their peers and in the largest National tournament in the UK, they put in solid performances in their respective divisions, coming home with 5 Gold, and 6 Bronze medals.

Adas Stankevicious was the clubs star of the day, bringing home not one but 2 gold medals in his individual and team sparring events.

It was his first ever tournament and he stormed through one of the largest divisions of the day to truly earn his gold. Spectators said he was fearless in battle!

In Adas’s winning team was Charlie Collyer whose seasoned competition skills helped take the boys through to the final and to the 2nd and 3rd golds for the club.

The 3rd Gold was an inspirational power display by club junior Rhianna Sobainsky. Fresh off her crutches after severe knee surgery, Rhianna stepped up to try her skills at the ‘Strike Pad’ Power testing event. Rhianna’s tiny frame and delicate legs did not hold her back as she has been taught the theories of power and was able to combine them to perfection and generate much more force than her larger competitors.

The 5th Gold was from local mum Charley Billingham who trains alongside her 2 daughters Savannah and Hattie who also put in very strong performances in the competition.

Entering in the executive women’s division, Charley was faced with competitors with much greater experience than herself as she had recently moved up to be the lowest grade in the intermediate division. Charley trains very hard around her children and with her children and really put in the work to earn this medal.

It was a good day for local taekwondo mums including Laura North who in her first ever competition was in the play off for a medal in her patterns division, and took Bronze in the individual sparring event; Arti Shah who took Bronze in the ladies Strike Pad power event, and Helen Giles who came 3rd place in her Tag Team Sparring event.

More Bronzes were rounded up by Amy Perks who brought home 2; 1 for individual sparring and one for Teams Sparring, where she joined forces with club mates Jessica Giles and Anuschka Sobainsky to take the bronze medal count to 5.

The final bronze was hard-won by David Cooper, in the toughest of the coloured belt patterns divisions, Cooper showed that this Dad can, with outstanding skill and control of technique.

Congratulations to Richard and Jo Perks, Alex Sobainsky, Fin Festival, and Tyler Collins who performed to an excellent standard in a tough competition.

Also to father and son Vijay and Ravi Patel on a solid performance in their first ever entry to the professional black belt league.

Instructor Katie Billingham said “I'm so proud of my club and it really takes a lot to enter these competitions.

They are just everyday people who decided to try and see what they are capable of and its so nice for them to realise how much they can really achieve and how strong they really are.”

The club welcomes beginners of all ages and abilities and will be recruiting new members over the Christmas period. To find out more about joining taekwondo please contact Katie Billingham on 07885293088 or see for more information.

Picture: Left to right 

Jo Perks, Richard Perks, Charley Billingham, Anuschka Sobainsky, Amy Perks, Hattie Billingham, Laura North, Rhianna Sobainsky, Fin Festival, Savannah Billingham, Ravi Patel, Alex Sobainsky, Asha Patel, Sidney Shorrock, Helen Giles, David Cooper, Charlie Collyer, Finley Denton, Christina Dunn, Adas Stankenvicious, Arti Shah and Jessica Giles