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Matthew Lear

16-year-old Taekwondo competitor Matthew is a member of Noble Dragons Martial Arts club in Swadlincote. His 2016 competition schedule started off badly with an injury which saw him out of training for eight weeks. However once recovered his training took him to the UITF European Championships where he won gold in his sparring division and is the current European Champion. He is a current UITF English Champion in sparring winning gold and silver in patterns. He is also a double English Champion in sparring and patterns winning gold in both events at the LTSI English Championships.

Matthew says: "My year started badly with badly damaged ligaments in my big toe caused during training. I still competed in a competition the following day winning bronze in sparring. Once injury free my training started which saw me being part of the England team travelling to Poland for the European Championships. Becoming the European champion was a massive boost after being injured. The main competition season has started for us with me winning three golds and one silver medal in two English Championships.

"My plans for the next 12 months are to continue training hard and competing where ever I can get to. I'm looking forward to travelling to Holland in 2017 for a Taekwondo World Championships.

"I continue to train with my local club and with Master Bradshaw at Heart of England elite squad at Alfreton. I have increased my training schedule with two hours of training at a competition class run by Mr Chris Randall at Pilsley. This year I will be working towards taking my 3rd degree black belt grading as well."