Huddersfield's Spear Taekwondo GB have their first British champion in Tim Needham.
The Second Dan took gold in the -55kg Juniors weight division for the Skelmanthorpe Community Centre-based club at the British National Championships in Manchester.
Spear are coached by his brother, Alex, a former British champion himself who picked up a silver medal as No1 seed in his section at Manchester.
And Liv Harrison Nicholls, another former British champion, reached the semi-finals of the -53kg Seniors for the club, going out to the eventual winner but picking up a bronze.
Tim Needham was ranked No1 in his section, having won every ranking tournament and being unbeaten in 2015.
After a nervy start to his first bout, when he led 5-3, Tim settled and powered to a 33-8 second-round stoppage.
His semi-final was against a player from southern England, a former kick boxer, but the Spear man won with a 12-point gap at the end of the second round.
With the No2 seed having gone, it was the No3 he faced in the final and, once again, the fight was stopped at the end of the second round with Needham leading 15-1.
Tim said: “I have been training hard and, although my brother and I argue like all brothers do when we get to the ring, we seem to gel.
“Alex reads the game well and knows how to keep me focused. I blew it last year after a slow start saw me bow out to the eventual winner. This year I was determined and focused.”
Although seeded No1, Alex was drawn in his first fight against Nottingham-based Ty, a dynamic and often spectacular competitor who was a pre-tournament strong contender.
He beat him, however, to come up against another exciting player in Chris Cocker of Halifax in the semi-finals.
This was a tough task against a really experienced player, but Alex triumphed 13-8.
In the final, he was up against No2 seed Brad Sinden from Kings TKD based in Doncaster.
It was a close contest, with Alex losing by just a point to take silver after a last-second kick after the referee had called break denied Alex a chance at Golden Point.
Delighted with three medals for three players, Alex commented: “The club promotes Taekwondo for all but I must admit as a coach I’ve had many people win, including Open competitions, but this one was special.
“Not only my first British champion, but with my brother. The most successful Taekwondo athlete, Lopez, is coached by his brother so who knows where we can go.
“Being coach brings a different perspective from one where you only have to concentrate on yourself.”
Vice-chair of the club, Jill Harrison added: “The team worked hard over the summer and felt prepared for the test they faced.
“The team work well together. Alex is a quality coach who has a great rapport with his athletes.”
On Liv Harrison Nicholls’ achievement, team manager Alan Needham said: “Liv was injured leading up to the Nationals but was fully recovered for the Championships.
“Maybe a little ring rust just gave her opponent the edge, but a bronze at this level is a great achievement.”
Anyone wishing to give taekwondo a go can contact Alan Needham on 07590 080162 or visit our website on www.speartaekwond.co
Picture courtesy of 3SIXTY5 Photography.