Jack Spall has a Fighting Chance of making it to Tokyo 2020
- Credit: Submitted
One of the rising stars of the Norfolk martial arts scene has set his sights on representing Team GB at the Olympic Games in the future.
Jack Spall, from Attleborough, took up taekwondo at the age of six and trained with various clubs in the region for around 10 years before applying for support from Fighting Chance.
The 18-year-old, who studies at Easton and Otley College, managed to get through trials with Fighting Chance – seeing off competition from 600 rivals to be nominated as one of two people to work with them full-time.
He now trains and studies WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) taekwondo full contact sport and has represented Britain for six months – representing his country at various tournaments in the UK and abroad.
He travels to London and Manchester to meet up with other British athletes every month whilst maintaining a routine every day at home, at his college and in local gyms.
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He said: 'It's become a part of my life, the adrenalin you get from it – even if you lose you are always learning. You always get something out of it.'
Team GB medalled twice in taekwondo at London 2012 and Jack has received advice from Jade Jones – the first ever Britain to win a gold in this discipline at the Olympics.
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Spall continued: 'I've met Jade a couple of times and trained with her. She has said be passionate about what you do and commit.
'If you don't you're going to get hurt. It's inspiring to be around people like her. I also look up to people like Mahama Cho. He hopes to medal in Rio. We have only got four players going but they could all do really well.
'Personally I've represented team GB twice – getting to the quarter finals of one tournament. I've also done well in the British national championships last year and came second.
'Representing your country makes you go that extra level. It's hard to explain. It makes you feel proud about yourself and your country.'
On his Olympic dream, Spall added: '2016 is out of the question, 2020 is a possibility but at the moment I think I would have the greatest chance of winning a gold medal for my country in 2024. That is my dream.
'To win a medal at that level would be off the scale.'
Spall insists he is full committed to the sport but ensure his studies at Easton & Otley College aren't neglected.
'The college keeps an eye on my progress and supports me as much as they can,' he added. 'They look after me and recently gave a small donation to help me buy a new training suit.
'But it costs thousands a year to try and achieve my goal. I'm desperate for success and I've had funding from SportsAid but it would be great if I can get support from a local sponsor or two.
'My parents and my sister have been amazing and financially and emotionally support me. They do everything for me and I'm so proud of them. I just hope I make them proud. I cannot wait to see what the future holds.'
John Nice, a spokesperson from Easton and Otley College, said: 'We are delighted to support Jack. I only wish we could afford more but we will be looking to try and help him again in the future.'