TAEKWONDO brothers Alex and Tim Needham have international competitions on their agenda.
Alex, 15, and Tim, 13, from Shelley, are fresh from attending successful trials at the Great Britain Taekwondo Academy and bidding to add to the 28 gold medals (including A class) which they won last year.
The trials, over two days, featured Alex bidding for the Junior Great Britain squad for exponents aged 14 to 17, while Kirkburton Middle School pupil Tim was in the Cadet section for those aged 10 to 13.
Both competed with other elite athletes of their ages and, while the Needhams are each ranked No1 in the UK in their weight and age groups, it was not a forgone conclusion they would be selected.
General fitness, flexibility and mental toughness came into the selection process along with test fights againt other students – all of which the Needhams won.
As a result of getting into the GB squad, Shelley College student Alex is hoping to get picked for the Junior World Championships which are being held in Egypt in April.
The brothers will next compete in Sweden next month, when both have realistic chances of winning medals.
Both won at A class events last season. Alex took gold at the British International A Class and Tim took bronze at the Trelleborg Open A Class in Sweden.
The brothers train three times a week at Ultimate Taekwondo Club in Doncaster with former Olympian Kath Hook (6th Dan), who has also been GB Junior coach for the World Championships in Mexico and for the Youth Olympic qualifiers.
With such a busy training and competition schedule, the brothers are on the lookout for extra sponsorship to help them reach the top. At the moment, they are being supported by a local gym, Sovereign Fitness and Diet Club at Near Bank Road, Shelley.