Champion is back in town

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THE current taekwondo Commonwealth champion is now giving classes in Cumbernauld.

At just 21, James Tully is a fourth degree black belt in the sport and a highly experienced international competitor. He is now keen to train the next generation of martial artists to share his passion for this fast-growing combat sport. With this in mind, he runs regular classes at the Tryst and offers private tuition.

Trained

James, from Abronhill, has competed and trained all over the world, winning an impressive number of medals. After a knee injury left him unable to compete for a year, James bounced back onto the scene with the crowning achievement of his career to date - a gold medal at the Commonwealth Championships in Chennai, India. For this he received a personal letter of congratulations from First Minister Alex Salmond.

“Taekwondo is getting more popular in Scotland. Today we have some big name players and are getting good results in big competitions,” said James. “If we had the same kind of support there was in England we could be top class,” he said.

“Andy has always told us that he wants his students to surpass him in taekwondo, and then for us to train students who will become even better than us.”

Master Andy Brown added: “Jame started training with me in the Tryst when he was five and it’s been great to see all the achievements he has racked up over the years. Like the brothers Craig and Ross Eden who are a couple of other boys from Cumbernauld, he has a top class competition record and is also a highly qualified instructor.”

However, during their interviews Andy Brown and James were both damning of political disputes in the sport, which resulted in sportscotland withdrawing its support from sports body Taekwondo Scotland.

Organisation

A sportscotland spokesman said: “sportscotland invests in sport through individual sports’ governing bodies (SGBs). Where there is no organisation deemed to be an appropriate recipient of SGB status – because of concerns over structure and ‘reach’ within the sport – then we can not and will not invest in that sport. Clearly it is our responsibility as the distributor of public funds to ensure that investment is spent wisely in developing sporting potential.

“Taekwondo Scotland (TS) received conditional recognition as the SGB for the sport, for a period of two years from sportscotland in July 2009, and we invested in their performance programme for those two years against outcomes within their performance plan.

“However because of internal divisions within the sport and in the light of concerns raised with us, we reviewed their conditional recognition earlier this year. The outcome of that review was to derecognise Taekwondo Scotland on the grounds that it had failed to meet the conditions of recognition including making no attempt to represent the wider sport of taekwondo.

“We are keen to help the sport get on to a footing that will give us the confidence to invest in it again. That is why we have been looking at opportunities to bring in the kind of federated structure which has been established at UK level and why we have offered independent mediation support to all interested parties to help move the process forward.

“However any athlete – in any sport - who demonstrates the potential to compete at Olympic level will always be able to access support through our sports institute network.”

Concerned

Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MSP Jamie Hepburn commented: “I was very concerned to hear about the problems being experienced by those participating in taekwondo across Scotland, when I met with Andy and James. Any person who dedicates themselves to the pursuit of excellence in their chosen sport should be encouraged to do so and supported all the way.

“I have in fact written to sportscotland separately from my meeting with Andy and James, because another constituent contacted me regarding these matters as they were affecting her son who takes part in the sport, but I will be writing to them once again, along with the Minister for Sport, to set out some of the issues they have raised with me.

“I sincerely hope a long-term solution can be established to ensure that those who take part in taekwondo in Scotland are able to do so to the highest possible standard.”

James holds classes in Broadwood Stadium, Tryst Sports Centre and Our Lady’s High School. For further details see www.limitlesstkd.com