altBRITISH TAEKWONDO is to move its operations from Loughborough to Manchester’s Sportcity (pictured) to help it prepare for the 2012 Olympics, it was announced today. 

The sport has been based in Loughborough for the past six years and moves to Manchesteron the back of Sportcity’s emerging reputation as a world-class venue for sport.

The Sportcity site, originally built to house the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, has a successful history of playing host to world-class sports with EnglandSquash and the British Cycling Federation both based there already.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         The move comes as a result of the recent news that the 2007 WTF World Taekwondo Qualification Tournament for the 2008 BeijingOlympic Games will be held at the MEN Arena in Manchesterlater this year.

The BTCB Sport Taekwondo UK Ltd, the high performance armo of the sport in Britain, is looking to further develop its academy of elite taekwondo athletes on the road to London 2012 and sees this move as a giant step to bring the sport forward, and ensure that promising athletes have the best available facilities to flourish.

Gary Hall, performance director for Sport Taekwondo UK, said, “This move will ensure that our athletes can train in bespoke facilities which will allow them to best prepare to compete for major medal success.

"Sportcity possesses state of the art facilities for many Olympic medal winning sports and Manchester’s development plan for Olympic Taekwondo is hugely exciting. “

Craig Brown, a Beijing hopeful and one of the taekwondo academy athletes who will benefit from the move, commented, “I feel taekwondo’s Olympic programme moving to Manchesteris a very positive development for the sport as the facilities in Manchesterare the best in the UK.”

Brown is one of many academy athletes who will have to move to Manchester and find a new home and school, but seems very positive about what lies ahead.

“Although it can be tough moving to a new city I am 100 per cent committed to the sport and with the Olympics in mind I have to do what is best for my development as an athlete and put everything else on hold," he said.

Adrian Tranter, the chairman of the British Taekwondo Control Board, said, “This move comes at a critical time for taekwondo with a warranted interest from the public in the development of all sports ahead of London 2012.

"We are confident that Manchester’s Sportcity will provide the BTCB Sport Taekwondo UK Ltd with world class facilities to aid the advancement of our elite athletes for years to come.”

The athletes will have access to the Velodrome and weights facility, whilst a purpose-built centre for excellence will be constructed over the next two years.

Mark Hackett, the executive member for culture and leisure at Manchester City Council, said: “Manchesteris delighted to welcome a growing Olympic sport like taekwondo to Sportcity.

 "It is also very satisfying to see that the legacy created by the Commonwealth Games in Manchesterback in 2002 is leading directly to the development of athletes ahead of the Olympic Games.”

Operations will begin from the new office in Manchester from next Monday (April 2) with the athletes moving up the following weekend ready for training on the Monday morning.

The BTCB Sport Taekwondo UK Ltd will also now begin the process of recruitment of two key coaching positions, senior hgh performance coach and high performance Coach, both reporting to Hall. 

The City of Manchester is in preparation for the 2007 WTF World Taekwondo Qualification Tournament for the 2008 BeijingOlympic Games, which will take place at the MEN Arena from September 28-30 this year.  

This prestigious international event will see at least 182 member nations submit a total of 728 athletes to compete for the right to participate at the next Olympic Games.