A taekwondo camp aiming to identify up and coming talent in the sport could reveal the athletes who will represent New Zealand at the 2024 Olympic Games.
The New Zealand United Taekwondo Association will run the emerging talent mini camp tomorrow, hosted by Master Kesi O'Neill at Team KO Taekwondo headquarters at Mount Maunganui.
O'Neill says the event will involve 50 participants, including 20 who have been selected from the Bay of Plenty, with ages ranging from 10 to those in their late 80s.
Other participants are from clubs in, Gisborne, Ōpōtiki and Waiouru. There will also be an Australian group of athletes called the Ninja Nannies who, O'Neill says, demonstrate that age is no barrier.
He says the event's main objective is to have a look at the next generation coming through, with an eye on potential competitors for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. O'Neill says parallel to producing top talent is the sport's role in personal development.
"We are trying to achieve, much like any other sport. We want to look at that next generation and see what pathway we can put down, not just for taekwondo but for life as well. We are trying to emphasise that it is not just turning up and kicking, there is more to it.
"They are more than just competitors and we have a lot of cross-training people come through from basketball and rugby. Sometimes athletes are lost in life and we give the self-esteem, it is very family orientated and a lot of students go into the police and the military."
Special guests for the camp include Grand Master Faye Shacklock from Australia – a seventh dan, Taekwondo Australia ambassador and world champion power breaker.
Master Jacko Ta Ala is also a master in power breaking and will be a guest for the event and provide the always entertaining board-breaking.
"There will also be yoga at the camp, which is important to strengthen their bodies," O'Neill says.
Tae kwon do emerging talent mini camp:
Saturday, November 23.
Team KO Headquarters.