For the second year running Huddersfield’s Quest Taekwondo was the UK’s most successful club team the Dutch Open Championships.
Two of their rising talents impressed at Europe’s longest running Taekwondo tournament, with Aaliyah Powell and Caden Cunningham each winning gold medals.
Cunningham, who is 13 and a King James High School student, won gold in the Cadet -49kg male category.
It was a highly-contested weight division with many national teams using this event as a qualifier for the European Championships later in the year.
Cunningham, who is the British Champion at the lighter weight division, moved up a category as part of his continued growth and development
He showed his potential with four outstanding matches against top class international athletes from all over Europe.
Cunningham hopes to qualify for the Cadet European Championships later in the year and is in preparation for the President’s Cup which is to be held in Athens in April.
The Great Britain Senior team, comprising of full time athletes based at the Academy in Manchester, won several medals including two gold medals but the gold tally was matched by Quest thanks to the performance of Powell.
British Champion Powell, who is 14 and attends Shelley College, has moved into the Junior age division this year and usually most athletes take time to make a successful transition.
Powell competed in the -44kg Female Junior division and was the youngest athlete in the category.
She was facing European medallists with far more experience at this level of competition.
No-one could have predicted her success winning four matches and stating her claim as Britain’s No1 Junior.
Powell aims to make the Junior GB team for the European Championships in Cyprus in the autumn, and is one of a very small group of athletes to win two Dutch Open titles – she aims to be the first Briton to do it three consecutive times.
The 11 strong Quest team saw many of the athletes winning matches including senior athlete Jake Barnett who has just joined the GB Academy the week before the Dutch Open. Barnett got to the quarter-finals, just missing out on a medal but demonstrating real potential for success.
Last year’s silver medalist Charlotte Simpson gave a very good account of herself but due to illness before the event missed competing at her weight category, moving up a division. Simpson also showed she had made a successful transition into the Junior divisions.
European Silver medalist Alex Foster was hoping a hand injury he received in Belgium in January would have recovered in time for the Dutch but unfortunately the medical team said no.
Instead Foster will go to Switzerland next weekend to return to his winning ways in preparation for the Euros.
In total 11 athletes made up the Quest team that come from all over the north of England and are coached by Mike Mckenzie.
Mckenzie said “ I was incredibly proud of the performances of all the team and I am delighted by the gold medals for Caden and Aaliyah.
“There were many British teams at this prestigious event and we were the only club team to win gold not one but two!
“They all work incredibly hard and deserved their success.
“Both the gold medal winners are very much on the radar of the Great Britain Olympic team.”