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Chaneil Patel: Taekwondo.

I am in the third and final year of my Classics degree at UCL. I started WT Taekwondo when I was 4 years old and currently hold a 4th Dan black belt. I am both an athlete and instructor at my university club, UCL Taekwondo, and my regular club, London Taekwondo Academy (LTA). At the moment, I am doing my own training, which includes both Taekwondo and strength and conditioning sessions, as well as coaching in sparring and Poomsae (patterns) at both my clubs. During term time, my week would be filled with 6 Taekwondo sessions, 2-3 strength and conditioning sessions and 2-3 sessions at which I coach. In terms of the strength and conditioning, I started weightlifting training when I first joined UCL and was fortunate enough to receive some top strength and conditioning coaching on the elite athlete programme from the lead S&C coach for Team UCL in my final year at university. I have found that this has certainly supplemented my Taekwondo training as the S&C programme is Taekwondo specific.  

During my time at UCL, I have represented UCL Taekwondo in 12 tournaments. Some of the best highlights of these events include winning gold in last year’s Student Nationals sparring event and a bronze at the European University Championships in July 2017. At the most recent event, the Student National Championships in March, I won a silver medal in the men’s -54kg sparring. I had three good fights, winning 46-5 in the first match and the semi-final by knockout, but narrowly missed out on the gold in the final. Overall, I was pleased with my performance and my physical and mental preparation, which felt good on the day and leading up to the competition. Unfortunately, this was my last student Taekwondo event as there will be no European University Games this year for Taekwondo. But I do have some more national competitions coming up later this year with my club, LTA, which I’m preparing for. After I graduate, I certainly intend to remain as a coach at UCL Taekwondo, so I won’t be going anywhere!

As for our university team, UCL Taekwondo has recently become the overall winning club of the British Student Taekwondo Federation (BSTF) multi-event Tournament Series, which comprised of 4 tournaments in the 2017-18 academic year, all of which UCL Taekwondo dominated. At the last event, the Student National Taekwondo Championships 2018, the team took home a massive 52-medal haul (19 gold, 14 silver, 19 bronze), which was won from 6 different Taekwondo disciplines, including both ITF and WT styles. This achievement is a testament to the hard work the coach, Amar Farooq, the whole team and the committee put in throughout the year to make sure that every target was smashed.

Congratulations to the team on this victory for the second year in a row!

Chaneil Patel