We have been reporting the development and success of 16 year old Taekwondo athlete Jacob Barnett over the last year, and I am pleased to announce that his hard work and success has come to fruition as he has now been called up to the Great Britain Junior Development Team.
Jacob, who lives in Baildon and attends 6th Form at Titus Salt School, trains with Quest Taekwondo in Baildon, Cottingley, Bingley and Keighley, and started Taekwondo when he was 6. He has competed in various competitions across Europe, the first time around when he was only 7 and competed at the Children's International Championships in Germany.
In 2012 Jacob had his most successful year to date, most notably picking up Gold medals at the Dutch Masters in Rotterdam and London International Championships in Crawley, and an incredible 2nd Place (Silver) at the British National Championships, losing out to his new GB team mate Shem Ehigie from London. Jacob also impressed at the prestigous Sarah Stevenson Inspires training workshops, led by Great Britain's most decorated Taekwondo athlete Sarah Stevenson MBE, where Jacob picked up an award recognising his promising ability and excellent training attitude.
Through Quest Taekwondo Jacob has a route to being in contention for selection for a Major Championships, such as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Junior European Championships in Portugal, or Youth Olympics in China, as Quest are part of the National Governing Body for Olympic Taekwondo in Great Britain. Jacob's call-up to the team will mean that he will be training with his home club Quest Taekwondo 6 days per week as normal, but will go away for 3-4 days at a time to train with the Great Britain Junior Development Team during every school term break.
At the Great Britain Junior Development Team Jacob will be training with the most talented Taekwondo talents aged between 14 and 18 (the Junior age category) and will be training directly under the coaches and selectors for such championships. There are 3 x 3-hour sessions per day, and each Development Camp is usually between 3 to 4 days.
While Jacob has one eye on Rio 2016, his focus is still on his 2013 goals - the main aim is to be selected to represent Great Britain and the Junior European Championships in Portugal in September. To do this Jacob will be competing at A-Class sparring tournaments across the continent where he will continue to represent home club Quest Taekwondo, starting in Sweden (February), Germany (March), Belgium (April), Spain (April) and Austria (June). Jacob hopes he will be able to replicate his form from 2012 to pick up medals at these tournaments and as a result get selected for the team for the Junior European Championships.
Jacob will also be training with Silsden's 15 year old starlet Natasha Burdock, who is also Jacob's team mate at Quest Taekwondo. Natasha is also competing for a place in the team for the Junior European Championships and will be accompanying Jacob along with the rest of the Quest Taekwondo Team at these events.
Rick Simpson, who is Jacob's Coach at Quest Taekwondo, added "Jacob has worked so hard to getting to where he is. He is an inspiration to all teenagers who want to get something in life and Jacob has really committed himself to this. Its not just the training commitment he has put in for himself, but how he comes across too - all the boys in the club look up to Jacob and he sets a really good example to them - training hard, thinking positively, taking on feedback, improving all the time, helping others, he's just a pleasure to work with".
Well done and good luck Jacob! Your readers can follow Jacob on Twitter @Jake_TKD.