Cardiff-born Wales now part of GB Taekwondo's Academy in Manchester.

Joel Setting Sights On Olympic Glory – Thanks To Instagram

Like most 21-year-olds Joel Walsh is a keen social media follower.

Now thanks to Instagram, the Cardiff born kickboxer is set for a new career in taekwondo.

Back in January, GB Taekwondo launched a new talent scout portal on Instagram with the hashtag #Taekkers.

Joel seized the opportunity, uploaded a video of himself in action, filled in an online form and sent off his application.

Now’s he’s a member of GB Taekwondo’s elite performance squad in Manchester and looking forward to forging a new sporting career.

“Everyone says it’s their dream is to compete at the Olympics,” said Joel, a 10-time Welsh kickboxing champion and former British Open winner.

“That would be fantastic. But Britain hasn’t yet produced a male world champion so that is the dream.”

Joel, who knows current European champion, Lauren Williams from their junior kickboxing days, is no stranger to Olympic style taekwondo.

He entered the National Championships in Manchester last September and won the -63kg title but is likely to compete at -58kg.

“I can’t believe how friendly everyone has been,” he explained. “I am the new boy but everyone has been so welcoming, offering me hints and tips. It’s been great.”

On the #Taekkers initiative, Joel added: “It is a good and efficient way of scouting talent.

“The world is changing and everyone uses social media. It was great to be picked up this way.

“It was seamless. All the information was covered or overlapped. I wasn’t left with any questions.

“It just so happened I had a good trial as well so it feels amazing to be here.

“Taekwondo is such a fast paced, high scoring, high-intensity sport where anything can happen. It is out of the norm and I can’t wait to get more involved.”

 

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