De Silva Taekwondo’s team of elite athletes are gearing up to compete at the A.E.T.F European Taekwondo Championships in Tampere, Finland. Hannah ‘Hype’ Whittaker, ‘Angry’ Courtney Smith, Shane O’Rourke, Jennifer Pena, Jason Carsberg and Ben Halpin will be sparring in individual and team events at the tournament which runs from 28 April to 1 May.
The talented squad will be joined in the southern Finnish city by ITF England National taekwondo coach and De Silva Taekwondo founder Johann De Silva. As one of the coaches for the England men’s and women’s sparring team, he’ll be instructing many of his own students who have been selected for the national squad.
Hannah ‘Hype’ Whittaker, ‘Angry’ Courtney Smith and Jennifer Pena were part of the Team sparring squad which finished as vice champions in 2015, and they’ll be hoping to go one better and win the tournament in Finland. They make up half of the six-person squad.
Shane O’Rourke, 2015 ITF World vice champion (-68kg sparring), will be joined by European bronze medallist Ben Halpin in the men’s sparring team.
All five will also compete in individual events, as will 2015 Unified ITF World Championship bronze medalist Jason Carsberg.
The squad have had a successful year so far, and will be hoping to carry the momentum into their biggest tournament of the year so far. Hannah was the -68kg sparring champion at the 2016 LTSI South East Open, while Jason won a -70kg sparring silver medal at the same event.
Courtney won the -62kg sparring competition at the PUMA International Open and Ben won a bronze for +85kg sparring at the ITF Union 2016 European Championship, while Shane has also been a big winner, taking gold at the Open Dutch and LTSI South East -85kg sparring tournaments, and picking up a silver at the UKTA English Open.
Johann De Silva said: “It has been a great year for De Silva Taekwondo’s athletes so far, but this is our student’s biggest tournament yet. I’m looking forward to coaching them at this prestigious tournament, and I’m confident that the team will return home with more medals.”
Want to spar with Johann and the best taekwondo athletes? Join De Silva Taekwondo’s classes in Wembley, Ealing or Ruislip.