October 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Plaistow youngster could become first ever Youth Olympic Games male taekwondo medallist
Newham’s Christian McNeish recently flew out to China for the Youth Olympic Games, starting on Saturday, to compete in the 100-strong taekwondo competition in Nanjing.
McNeish, 17, from Plaistow, has been in the Far East for more than a week preparing for the biggest tournament of his short career, and aims to become GB Taekwondo’s first ever male Youth Olympic Games medallist.
The taekwondo event takes place at the Nanjing International Expo Centre from August 17-21. There are 10 gold medals up for grabs: five in the male events and five in the female weight categories. Two bronze medals will be awarded in addition to gold and silver.
McNeish confirmed his Games place by coming through four rounds in the -63kg division, including an impressive 14-5 success over Serbian, Dejan Tomic. His qualification is a notable achievement after less than 12 months as a member of the GB Taekwondo Academy in Manchester.
He came under the governing body umbrella through the UK Sport backed, Fighting Chance, ‘Battle4Brazil’ initiative last September.
In addition, to his Youth Games qualification back in March, McNeish claimed a silver medal at the 2014 Trelleborg Open in Sweden.
“But qualifying for the Youth Olympics is a big thing for me,” said McNeish. “I was chuffed when I was selected because that was my main focus this year. Obviously, it’s not the real Olympics, but it is a major step in the right direction.”
McNeish will get his first taste of the action on Tuesday in the -63kg competition.
More than 200 nations and 3,600 competitors will compete in sports ranging from golf to rugby sevens, archery to beach volleyball. McNeish is part of Great Britain’s 33-strong Youth Olympic Games squad.