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Three’s company for Gants Hill taekwondo triplets

Taekwondo family Ilyas, Ishaq, Ibrahim and Ishmail Hussain Taekwondo family Ilyas, Ishaq, Ibrahim and Ishmail Hussain

Friday, December 13, 2013
3:30 PM

»When Ilyas and Ibrahim Hussain fought each other in the British National Taekwondo Championship semi-finals, their dad’s one wish was that they didn’t hurt each other.

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Hussain family in trainingHussain family in training

The pair are two of three Gants Hill triplets – along with Ismail – who made history by becoming the first triplets to pass a national black belt grading exam.

The 12-year-olds train at the elite Gurumu Taekwondo, where they are taught by GB coach Sivakumar Renganathan, and they have their hearts set on success.

“There were real mixed emotions for me,” explained dad Amjid on seeing two of his sons take each other on earlier this year.

“I didn’t want either of them getting hurt, but I suppose it’s better than them fighting at home like most brothers do!”

Ilyas, who has been selected to compete internationally in his age group, eventually won, going on to finish second in the 11 to 14 category. Ibrahim won bronze.

All three have been invited to train at the National Taekwondo Cadet Academy in Manchester, and many weekends are taken up with the arduous task of travelling up north to hone their talents.

It can get quite expensive too.

“It costs a lot for all three of them to compete, because we have to cover all our own expenses.

“Thankfully Ilyas is sponsored by local business A-Z Windows on Romford Road. But it’s not a chore because they love doing it.”

The trio train four times a week – twice at Gurumu and twice at a custom-made gym at their Beechwood Gardens home.

The triplets attained the first dan ranking in Nottingham last month, but have to wait at least another year before they can move on to the next stage.

Ilyas and Ibrahim, who go to Beal High School, and Ismail, a student at Ilford County High, are following in their 48-year-old dad’s footsteps.

He has been a taekwondo black belt himself, but now mainly trains to stay in shape – and of course to improve the prospects of his protégées.

“They all took to it very quickly. It must be something in the blood,” he said. “I’m very proud of them and there’s no limit to what they can achieve.

“But they do it because they want to do it, not because I force them. They love training and have always been very competitive.

“They’re lucky that we live so close to Gurumu, it’s one of the best places to train in the country, as well as being recognised as a talent centre by GB Taekwondo. It’s the equivalent of going to 
Oxford or Cambridge.”

Asked about whether they can compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the proud father said: “You never know what’s going to happen.

“They can go to the Olympics if that’s what they want to do. There are no limits to what they can achieve.”

And there could be more to come – the triplets’ younger brother, Ishaq, has been training since he was four!

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