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Keighley girl Leah Moorby's delight at World Junior Taekwondo Championship selection
Keighley’s Leah Moorby has expressed her delight after being picked for Great Britain to compete at the 2014 Junior Taekwondo World Championships in Taiwan.
Her selection for the World Taekwondo Federation event in New Taipei City at the end of March caps off a remarkable 12 months for the 14-year-old Holy Family School pupil, who has been in great form domestically and in Europe.
She said: “I am thrilled. It was fantastic getting chosen for the European Championships but the Worlds are another level.
“I am nervous but excited. I would like to thank everyone for their support – my parents, coaches and sponsors, without whom I would not be in this position.”
Leah will be the youngest member of the GB team, containing six girls and four boys. She will compete in the minus 52kg junior category.
The Keighley black belt’s selection is even more remarkable as she has not been able to compete as a junior this year due to age restrictions, having fought in the 12 to 14-year-old cadet division rather than the 14 to 17-year-old junior category.
Leah only turned 14 in Sep-tember but is not fazed by the step up as she has spent the last 12 months as a member of the GB elite junior invitation squad in Manchester. Unbeaten in all domestic competitions, she is the current British and Spanish Open champion, she captained Great Britain in the Cadet European Championships in Romania in August and had a great international debut, coming away with a bronze medal.
Two weeks later she confirmed her British No 1 status by winning the national title at the Manchester Velodrome.
The Ultimate Taekwondo member works closely with Keighley Cougars’ strength and conditioning coach Paul Royston, who said: “Leah has continued to improve her physical performance through-out this year.
“She has made great strides in terms of her strength, speed, flexibility and stamina.
“Leah is a quick learner and responds to new training techniques with ease. Her overall athleticism is highly impressive.”
Leah’s club coach Kathy Hook said: “ I am so proud of Leah, who has done so fantastically well to be selected, especially as she has just moved up to the higher age group.
“It highlights the faith that myself and the GB coaches have in her ability.”
Leah’s father Gary, who used to coach and play for Cougars, said: “She has worked extremely hard and has the desire to be successful at her sport.
"I have been involved in coaching many youngsters, albeit in a rugby capacity. However, whatever the sport, talent and the will to be successful is easy to identify.
"Leah never wants to miss a training session and is always enthusiastic to learn, she knows there are no short cuts and has the right mentality and potential to achieve big things if she continues in the same vein.”
Leah will compete in Dublin on January 12 for Doncaster-based Ultimate in what will be her first outing as a junior at the new weight of minus 52kg and will be part of her preparation for the World Championships.
The trip to Taiwan is self-funding and Leah is planning an event to help raise money for it in the new year. Anyone wishing to help can contact Gary on 07957-585624.
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